Study Guide for Chapter 17 Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property

All information obtained from the lecture notes unless otherwise noted.

Thanks to Aims for the ones I didnít find. Tilde (~) indicates an unsure definition.


I will try to lecture on the key abortion/privacy cases:

Please make sure you have read the chapter and have researched these cases:


Mapp vs. Ohio (1961): the Supreme Court ruled that the protection against unreasonable search and seizure applied to the state and local governments as well as the national government, thus nationalizing the exclusionary rule.


Exclusionary Rule: A principle established by the Supreme Court that bars the government, both federal and state, from using illegally seized evidence in court. Since 1914, the courts have used the "exclusionary rule" to prevent illegally seized evidence from being introduced in the courtroom. The Burger Court made some exceptions to the exclusionary rule.


Burger Court: the United States Supreme Court from 1969 to 1986 (led by Chief Justice Warren Burger). It was expected that the "Burger Court" would become a conservative court under Warren Burger and reverse many of the liberal rulings of the earlier Warren Court. The assessment was incorrect. Some exceptions to the exclusionary rule:

  1. Allowed the use of illegally obtained evidence when the evidence led police to a discovery that they would eventually have made without it
  2. In United States v. Leon (1984) established a "good faith" exception


Good Faith Exception: that permitted evidence to be used if the police who seized it mistakenly thought they were operating under a constitutionally valid warrant.


Terry vs. Ohio (1968): the court held that police could "stop and frisk" a suspect on the street without a warrant:

  1. If they are reasonably suspicious that the person is armed or dangerous.
  2. If they are acting on the tip of an informant the officer thinks is reliable.


Webster vs. Reproductive Health Services (1989): Rehnquist Supreme Court upheld Missouri Law restricting abortion. Human life begins at conception. This Roe vs. Wade decision is in jeopardy because of this doctrine.


Gitlow vs. New York (1925): Short answer: the Court relied on the Fourteenth Amendment to find that a state government must respect some First Amendment rights. Gitlow was the first step in the judicial development of the incorporation doctrine, the protection of civil liberties from state infringement. Long answer: The Supreme Court, in upholding the New York convictions of socialist Benjamin Gitlow for advocating the violent overthrow of the government, noted that the states were not completely free to limit political expression. In Gitlow, the Court announced that freedoms of speech and press "were fundamental personal rights and liberties protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the states."


Gideon vs. Wainwright (1963): the Court extended the same right to everyone accused of a felony, ruling that defendants in all felony cases had a right to counsel, and if they could not afford to hire an attorney, one must be provided free of charge.


Griswold vs. Connecticut (1965): a case about married couples being prescribed contraceptives through a Yale University professor and Planned Parenthood. (Connecticut law was against such practices.) The court found no stated right to privacy, but said there were "various guarantees" in the Bill of Rights to "create zones of privacy." The right to privacy is generally attributed to the interpretation of the Ninth Amendment. The Connecticut statute was ruled unconstitutional as a violation of marital privacy, a right that could be read into the "intent" of the Constitution. The right to privacy is NOT specifically stated in either the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Court also says that keeping the police out of the bedroom is "a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights."


Roe vs. Wade (1973): the Court divided pregnancy into three stages. In the first trimester, a woman's right to privacy included an absolute right to an abortion free from state interference. (A state cannot forbid abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy). In the second and third trimesters, the state's interest in the health of the mother gave it the right to regulate abortions in certain cases. (Opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun) See lecture notes Section V.B. for more info.


Gregg vs. Georgia (1976): the Court found that the death penalty is "an extreme sanction, suitable to the most extreme of crimes."


Abortion Issue: an application of privacy rights. Americans are deeply divided on abortion: the positions of "pro-choice" and "pro-life" are irreconcilable (making abortion a politician's nightmare). The Supreme Court has upheld a state law that prohibited the use of state funds or state employees to perform abortions.


How do most criminal cases end in the United States? Most criminal cases (over 90 percent) are settled through plea bargaining rather than through trial by jury.


~ Steps in Procedural Due Process: the principle that laws must be administered in a fair manner (provided for by the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments).


Fifth Amendment Protections: prohibits forced self-incrimination. Suspects cannot be forced (compelled) to be witnesses against themselves:

  1. The burden of proof rests on the police and the prosecutors (the "government" or state), not the defendant.
  2. This right applies to congressional hearings and police stations, as well as to courtrooms.
  3. Suspects must testify if the government guarantees then immunity from prosecution.

The 5th Amendment also includes the grand jury requirement, which has not been applied specifically to the states.


The Terry Exception: "safety search exception" a police officer may stop and pat down a suspect believed to be dangerous in order to find or remove threatening or illegal objects. The exception allows for the opinion of an officer. (Aims)


19th Amendment (1920): guarantees all American women the right to vote


Civil Rights Act of 1964: Provided for the enforcement of: the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes. (Aims)


Title IX: Title IX of the education amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal funding. (Aims)


8th Amendment: excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, not cruel and unusual punishments inflicted (Aims)


Miranda vs. Arizona (1966): set guidelines for police questioning of suspects. Before suspects are questioned, they must be given the following Miranda warnings:

  1. their right to remain silent;
  2. that what they say can be used against them in a court of law; and,
  3. that they have a right to have a lawyer present during an interrogation, and that a lawyer will be provided if the accused cannot afford one.


Escobedo vs. Illinois (1966): a man was interrogated two different times in a killing. He was refused a request to see his lawyer the second time and then confessed to the crime. The Court reversed the Escobedo conviction on the grounds that the Sixth Amendment entitles a suspect counsel even during police interrogation once the "process shifts from investigatory to accusatory."