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Senior Portfolio Lesson 7

Government Structure and Function :


  • Constitutional Rights of Citizens that are covered by the 4th and 5th Amendments.
  • Unreasonable Search and Seizure
  • The Warrants Clause
  1. Using the Internet, find a list of the rights of citizens that are covered under the 4th and 5th amendments. Explain, in your own words, what each of these amendments guarantees us. Keep in mind that there are five rights guaranteed to us under the 5th amendment and there are also “exceptions “ to the 4th amendment that must be explained.
  2. Why are these amendments important for our welfare?
  3. Has an "Unreasonable search or seizure" ever happened to you or someone you know? Describe the circumstances of the situation. Could the situation have been handled differently? Has there been anything on the news lately that involves an illegal or unreasonable search and seizure? If you answered no to this question, please write a scenerio that would constitute an unreasonable search and seizure.
  4. Find three specific cases that have gone to the Supreme Court regarding the 4th amendment . Write a brief analysis of what happened in each case and how the Supreme Court ruled in these cases.
  5. Read the case below. Then answer the questions that relate to the case.

    One night at 1:30 AM, 2 policemen were cruising around in their car, checking on situations in a dangerous neighborhood. There had been a number of killings in the neighborhood, and they had been assigned to this neighborhood. In a huge vacant field, the policemen noticed a large group of youngsters hanging out against the fence. They were too far away for the policemen to see what they were doing.

    At the near side of the field, there was a car parked with 2 obvious occupants, a driver and a passenger in the other front seat. They were playing very loud music in the car.

    The policemen approached the car and asked the driver and other occupant to get out of the car.The occupant who was not the driver, got out immediately. One policeman asked him to "assume the position" and he proceeded to "pat him down". The policeman did not find anything and then asked this person a few questions. "What was he doing in this neighborhood?" (He lived a couple of blocks away), "Had they been in the field all night or did they just recently park there?" (they had just come from a party) At the end of the questioning, the policemen told the person to go home and he left the scene. During this time, the driver stayed in the car and refused to get out when the other policeman asked him to vacate the car. After the other man had left, the two policemen both approached the car and insisted that the driver vacate the car or they would take him out forcibly. Finally, he turned toward a compartment in the middle of the 2 front seats, threw something in there and closed the compartment. Then he got out of the car. One of the policemen opened the door of the car and opened the compartment. There was a gun in the compartment which they confiscated. The driver was arrested for possession of a firearm, etc.

    Answer these questions:

    a. Were the policemen legally able to ask the driver and the passenger to get out of the car?
    b. When the passenger got out of the car, were the policemen within their legal rights to search his person?
    c. Why do you think that the policemen let the occupant go home?
    d. When the driver finally got out of the car, did the policemen have the right to search him?
    e. Did the driver have the right to refuse to get out of the car?
    f. Did the policemen have the right to search the car and seize the gun?

    Reread the 4th amendment.

    Apply the rights of the 4th amendment to this case.
    Make sure to pay attention to any exceptions to the 4th amendment)
    Write your analysis of the case in 3 well-constructed paragraphs.

  6. If you were a police officer in this same situation, how would you have legally handled the same situation?

Please click on the attachments below to download a printable version of this lesson and documents to assist you in researching, preparing and writing your assignment.

  Lesson 7 PDF

  Graphic organizer for a research paper

  Analysis of sources

  Evaluating source

  Generating a Thesis Statement