Legal Rights in Criminal Cases

The U.S. Constitution protects all citizens and all criminal defendants—guilty or not. Some constitutional protections, like the Fourth Amendment, limit government intrusion of citizen privacy. Other protections work to ensure fair trials, such as the right to counsel, the right to cross-examine witnesses, and the right to a unanimous verdict. And at the foundation of the American criminal law system lies the presumption of innocence, which places the burden of proving every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt on the government. These articles discuss legal rights involved in criminal cases, from police searches and questioning to speedy and fair trials.

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