Search and seizure

According to the criminal justice system, a search is the action by law enforcement agents to move into private property or use electronic tapping methods in the process of gathering evidence from a crime suspect (FindLaw, 2009). It is simply the act of negating the right to privacy of an individual for the purposes of collecting crime evidence. This act may be lawful when a warrant is obtained or unlawful if it entails infringement of privacy.

Seizure on the other hand is defined as the act of impounding private property or persons by the law enforcement agents for presentation in court as evidence against a criminal suspect (Vina, 2006). This involves collecting of all illegal materials by law enforcement officers during their search. The law defines arrest as the act by the police officers of apprehending and putting in custody crime suspects during the process of interrogation and investigation of their purported criminal offenses before charging them in the law courts (Vina, 2006).According to the legal interpretation of the provisions of the fourth amendment of the constitution, the process of search, seizure, and arrest by law enforcement must be qualified by a proof a probable cause (FindLaw, 2009).

Therefore, reasonableness can be defined as the act of conducting search and seizure not on reasonable suspicion but with evidence of probable cause (American law Division, 2006). Unlike other forms of search and seizure activities which dictate for evidence of probable cause by the law enforcement, border searches are mainly based on reasonable suspicion (Vina, 2006).Routine border searches are legally termed as reasonable based on the importance of border security and can involve just limited intrusion. However, non-routine border searches dictate for prove of reasonable suspicion and depend on technique and level of intrusion (Vina, 2006). Just to be appreciated is the fact that border and regulatory searches such as routine screening of passengers at the airport are given special exception under the fourth amendment as they do not call for reasonable suspicion.


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