Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Fourth Amendment is designed to guard against unreasonable federal government searches and seizures of persons, papers, houses, and effects perpetrated against “the people” of the United States. The amendment was established because the colonists despised the general warrants used by the British to curb the illegal smuggling of molasses, which was a primary ingredient in the making of rum. These days, it is frequently invoked in relation to police search and seizure of narcotics or other restricted substances in the war on drugs. The Fourth Amendment contains two clauses. The first ensures that no unreasonable searches and seizures will be constitutionally tolerated. The second clause, commonly referred to as the “warrant clause,” sets forth requirements that police must follow in order to obtain a warrant from a detached and neutral magistrate. The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted these clauses independently. Thus, a warrant need not necessarily accompany a search ...