Phoenix, AZ criminal defense lawyer Robert J. McWhirter explains how constitutional issues come into play in criminal cases.
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One of the interesting things about criminal lawyers is they are actually the most active constitutional lawyers out there. I deal with the United States Constitution in one way or the other several times every week in my cases. You may have a Fourth Amendment issue: somebody needs to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Well, there’s an entire body of the law related to that. Fifth Amendment issues: somebody needs to be free from being compelled to testify against themselves. Remember Miranda, you have the right to remain silent? Every cop show ends with, “You have the right to remain silent.” Those are all constitutional issues. Sixth Amendment: you have the right to an attorney; you have a right to a fair trial, due process. All of those are encompassed in. And ultimately the Eighth Amendment, which is you have the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, or at the very start of your case the Eighth Amendment also provides for reasonable bonds and bails shall be set. So all of this deals with the Constitution. So I decided early on if that’s the case that I wanted to become an expert in the Constitution, and that was the genesis of my writings on the Constitution, on various aspects of it and then much broader to understand how the constitutional structure works. And I try to bring that to bear then to the assistance of my clients.