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Knowing Your Constitutional Rights [7]

by 7:20 PM


Amendment 7

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. (X)


What does this mean?

Well, let's take it into parts.

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars [.]

This means that if there is a disagreement of more than $20...

Let's stop right there in the middle of the sentence & take a dip into the history books:

Why specifically exceeding 20 dollars?

Well, in 1791:


*to clarify in case you skimmed right through that: Currently in America, as of March 2017, you cannot give someone 20 dollars for 20 acres of land like legit what is that a downpayment for a pet chicken.

In 1791, $20 dollars was considered to be a lot of money and the reason for this fixed amount was to ensure that a trial by jury was absolutely necessary.  For example, if there was a contract disagreement of $2 dollars then that's not really a substantial amount to even have a trial by jury because it's such a small amount - the person who didn't receive the $2 didn't really feel THAT much of a loss. 

However if in 1791 there was a disagreement more than 20 dollars that loss would be felt because that 20 dollars = 20 acres of land.


Although $20 in present day is not equivalent to 20 acres of land, it still stands:
Lawsuit more than $20 dollars = trial by jury


However - Under Federal Law: the amount must exceed 75,000 for a case to be heard in Federal Court based on if the people involved are from different states or countries. (X)

BUT civil cases may arise with people from the same country & state and in that case the 20 Dollars Clause applies.(X)


In terms of Lawsuit, it would have to be a civil claim which means you want a money compensation from the person you're suing. An example of civil cases could be Breaching a Contract or Grand Theft Auto. For example - in the case of Grand Theft Auto - the person who stole the car can be sued by the owner of said car. (X)

*Side note: If the victim wanted the court order preventing the person who stole their car to ever come near their property rather than suing for money, then that would be Equity law.*

[T]he right of trial by jury shall be preserved[.]

To complete the second half of the sentence -

 If there is a disagreement of more than $20 dollars = Trial by Jury

It was thought that rather than allowing a judge to have the final say -  a jury of local peers would be more trustworthy and fair.

Why is it essentially FUNDAMENTAL for there to be a jury rather than the decision made only from a judge?

Well, back when America was property of Great Britain, the judges were biased to the King. A factor that fueled the American Revolution was when King George III basically said no more trials with juries for my lil colonies - the word of the judge is all you need xoxo. (X) (X)

Since the ruling of judges wasn't fair due to being bias to the King, it was essential when America gained Independence the right of trial by jury shall be preserved[.]


[A]nd no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

This means that Federal judges cannot overrule a verdict given by a jury - for the most part, the jury's ruling is final.  Also, unlike in the 6th Amendment and mentioned in the 5th Amendment, the jury is made up of 6 individuals and those 6 individuals must be unanimous in their decision (X). (X)

To be clear - this only applies in a civil case (aka receiving money for compensation) not a criminal case (X). 

If they are not unanimous then the court must get a new jury and re-do the trial (You can read in detail all about this point in When a Jury Cannot Reach a Verdict)

The term 'Common Law' = the procedure of courts that used juries (X)

Common Law is modeled after the English Common Law of 1791

What is English Common Law?
When it is decided that the case would have a trial by jury.

(X)

To clarify: The 7th Amendment requires a civil jury trial in Federal Courts not State Courts (X)
HOWEVER - majority of states have included the right to have a civil jury (X)

To summarize:

  • Claim must be a civil claim (not criminal).
  • Must be in Federal Court (this amendment does not apply to state courts).
  • Lawsuit must be more than $20.
  • Consists of a jury of 6 peers.
  • Lawsuit must be a claim the English Common Law would have allowed for a jury trial.
(X)

_____

In what ways has President Trump & his administration done something that pertains to this Amendment:

Nothing at this time.





-If needed this will be updated from time to time.-





_____

If there an Amendment you would like to know more of?
to be taken to a list & choose which one you would like to learn more about.

This is a series that is ongoing - Each Wednesday [ #WednesdayAmendment ] there will be an Amendment Explanation paired with what Trump & his administration have done that pertains to the Amendment discussed.






The Role of Women

by 10:05 AM

Recently, I came across a short film called "Domestic Policy" due to procrastination at its finest, and if you aren't following me on Twitter when I tweeted about it - stop right here and go watch it, it's only 6 minutes and 40 seconds!

SUMMARY OF THE FILM
A satirical comedy which wryly suggests that today's obsession with female appearance was borne out of one official government meeting that took place just after WW1.

(side note - not sure if they meant WW2 in the summary of the film?)

This short film made me wonder when exactly was female appearance the sole focus for women? As mentioned in the film, women were building munition, airplanes, ships- also in WW2 many women were mechanics (To name one - Queen Elizabeth II trained in London as a mechanic and military truck driver) (If you just type in 'Queen Elizabeth mechanic during the war' in Google, and select images, you can see for yourself!)

I understand that the appearance of a woman was always somewhat there, but what enlarged it to essentially what it is today? I've searched and came up blank.

If we look back into history on what women were doing, they were mechanics during the war, building airplanes etc. yet now people are saying oh that's not a job for a woman

A woman is capable of anything if she keeps her mind to it. Being a woman does not mean she is less intelligent (looking at you Polish MEP), it does not mean she is incapable of handling large mathematical equations (have you seen Hidden Figures?)- all limitations of what a women can do is, in some ways, male constructed and in someways self imposed by women themselves because of what they hear they should do rather than contribute to society with what they want to do.

I'm not saying drop the beauty blender and pick up an engineering textbook - what I'm saying is, if you want, you can have the beauty blender in one hand and the engineering textbook in the other.  (Or whatever textbook you want to hold.) You don't have to choose one or the other, you can do both. Don't limit yourself to one thing, the word multitasking isn't there for modeling in the dictionary. If you want to do just one thing, that's cool too, just know that there's nothing stopping you from doing more than one.

If you choose to watch the short film- let me know your thoughts in the comments below! (or on Twitter, I basically live on Twitter.)




Knowing Your Constitutional Rights [6]

by 2:36 PM

Amendment 6

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense. (X)

What does this mean?

Well, let's take it into parts.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial[.]

This means that the person accused of a crime must have a quick & public trial - basically the accused can't be chilling in jail for 3 years when in actuality the person is innocent.

If too much time passes between the crime & trial, as stated by Annenberg Classroom, the witnesses may die, leave the USA, their memories can turn into a blur since it was so long ago and physical evidence could be lost.

[B]y an impartial jury of the State[.]

This means the people of the jury cannot be prejudice & must have no affiliation with the person accused to ensure that it is a fair trial.

WHY?

Well, say a person of the jury knows the person accused personally then that could affect if the accused is deemed innocent / guilty to that person which means that would not have been a fair trial.

[A]nd district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law[.]

This means that the trial must be held where the crime occurred - not 2000 miles away in the middle of a random city.

[ This site details that say if it not possible to get an impartial jury because the person accused has been plastered on all local news outlets, then in that case then the jury can be people from a random city 2000 miles away ( Okay, perhaps not 2000 miles away specifically, but from a place where people of the jury will treat the person accused with no prejudice.)]

[A]nd to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him[.]

This section of the Amendment is referred to as the Confrontational Clause. The person accused of the crime must know exactly what they are being accused of AND they are allowed to approach the people accusing them of said crime. (X)

As stated by GETLEGAL

The indictment usually is read in open court, and the judge will ask if the defendant understands it.

SPEEDY TRANSLATION: The Government can't use some fancy vocabulary from the thesaurus that the accused person won't understand.


[T]o have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor[.]

This means the person accused can call a witness to trial if they believe the witness will help their case. To ensure that said person does come to court, the court can issue a subpoena. (X)

What is a subpoena?

A document that requires its recipient to appear in court as a witness.

SPEEDY TRANSLATION:  Basically, even if said witness doesn't want to come to court, they have to come to court if the subpoena is issued.

[A]nd have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

As mentioned in the Fifth Amendment via The Miranda Rights. However, the difference is that in this Amendment is it only applies after the person is charged with the crime.

In the 5th Amendment: right to counsel during "custodial interrogation". (X)

As stated by NOLO:

The term "custodial" refers to the suspect being in custody. It doesn't necessarily mean handcuffs. Rather, it means that the police have deprived the suspect of his or her freedom of action in any way.

In the 6th Amendment: right to counsel during the stage where the person is told by a judge of the charges against him. (X)

To Summarize:
  • The right to a quick & public trial.
  • The right to be on trial with a jury that is not prejudice.
  • The right to know what charges are made.
  • The right to confront those who made those charges.
  • The right to call a witness that the person accused believes will assist in the case.
  • The right to an attorney.
_____


In what ways has President Trump & his administration done something that pertains to this Amendment:

Nothing at this time.


-if needed this will be updated from time to time.-



_____
Is there an Amendment you would like to know more of?
to be taken to a list & choose which one you would like to learn more about.

This is a series that is ongoing - Every Wednesday [ #WednesdayAmendment ] there will be an Amendment Explanation paired with what President Trump & his administration have done that pertains to the Amendment discussed.


Shape of You

by 10:04 AM

The internet can be a rather interesting place but too much of this interesting place isn't all that good for you. Well, too much of anything isn't good for you period.

Sometimes it feels as through the electronics control the person rather than the person controlling their usage of social media. Think of it this way:

When you wake up in the morning, before you roll out of bed, you're checking what happened while you were asleep. Is it because you want to or have you gotten so used to the routine of checking your phone at all times during the day?

I personally can say that the only reason why I am on twitter is to see what else happened in terms of politics & also some fun things that happen to sprinkle on my timeline. In terms of Instagram - I scroll out of habit not because I genuinely want to see what's on my Instagram. 

I used to use Tumblr a lot, and by a lot I mean 23 of the 24 hours of the day was spent scrolling until I basically had this realization:

I am spending my life scrolling. This is not living, this is being chained to an electronic device as if I am a prisoner to my wifi router & cellular data.

The term Internet Detox is thrown around a lot. And I can say that I'd recommend taking a month off - or pull an Ed Sheeran - of anything involving the internet. It truly makes you realize the lack of substance it adds to your life.

Keep what you need and cut out what you don't.

So in terms of internet I ask myself:

Why do you need Twitter?
To keep up with politics & some random things that happen around the world.
  • Also, if you keep up with politics as well, here's a word of advice: LOOK AT MORE THAN ONE SOURCE

Why do you need Instagram?
I actually don't have an answer.

The purpose of my blogging Instagram is to post updates when I have new blogposts and videos & my actual Instagram is used on the basis of - how will what I am posting benefit others? [And also with a sprinkle of sass & humor - sort of like this blog.]
_____
What we see on social media shapes us. What we read and see becomes apart of who we are. In terms of books that we read, we live through the main characters ( or side characters) and we take, from these books, lessons we didn't know we needed.

Similar to the tree trunk photo I have up top - the internet makes its marks and shapes us & wouldn't you rather it be of something with substance than without?
_____
side note - came across this short film called #SLAVEREGINA
Summary:
The film is trying to show the virtual world and its effect on society, especially on the youngest generation. They want to fit in this new world. All rebellious intuition gets crushed by others, and they are forced to assimilate.



Knowing Your Constitutional Rights [5]

by 4:56 PM

Amendment 5

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. (X)

What does this mean?

Well, let's take it into parts.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury[.]

This means that a person cannot be tried in court unless the Grand Jury sees that there is enough evidence to put the person on trial.
_____

What is a Grand Jury?

It is comprised of 16-23 citizens and it is then decided by them if there is enough evidence to put the person on trial.
_____

[E]xcept in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger[.]

If a person in the Armed Forces commits a crime during war & national emergency then the above [ evidence supplied & decision made by a Grand Jury to place said person on trial] does not apply; they can be put on trial without the decision coming from the Grand Jury.

(In terms of Armed Forces - The Uniform Code of Military Justice is used)


[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb[.]

A person cannot be be put on trial for the same crime twice.

To give some historical context - When America was property of Great Britain, The Crown could order the same person to put on trial again just because The Crown didn't like that person & was not satisfied with the outcome. 

However, there are 2 courts in the United States: The Civil Court & The Criminal Court. If a person gets put on trial in The Criminal Court and is deemed innocent they cannot be put on trial again in the Criminal Court BUT they can be put on trial for the same crime in The Civil Court. (X)

[N]or shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself[.]

This prevents the person accused of a crime from testifying against themselves. So, the decision is  left to the government to decide if a person is innocent or guilty based on factual evidence. (X) (X)

This is where the phrase - "Innocent until proven guilty." comes from.


1. Right to remain silent.
2. Have the right to an attorney present during questioning.
3. The right to have a government-appointed attorney if the suspect cannot afford one.

If law enforcement fails to inform the person in question of their rights then any statements from said person violates the person's Fifth Amendment rights. 

Why?

Because the person cannot testify against themselves.

[N]or be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law[.]

We'll start with what exactly is 'Due Process of Law':


Essentially guarantees that a party will receive a fundamentally fair, orderly, and just judicial proceeding.
_____

SPEEDY TRANSLATION: Everyone is treated equally & fairly regardless of who the person is - the law of the land must be followed (X).


As stated in Due Process Clause:

The due process clause also demands that the judge be impartial. If the judge is familiar with any party involved in the proceeding, they are required to recuse themselves.
_____

Basically, to ensure a person is given a fair chance at court, if the judge knows the person or anyone involved in the case they have to excuse themselves from the case.


Below is a screenshot of the definition of Due Process that was helpful for me to understand:


Basically: there are procedures the Federal Government must follow

UPDATE 18 MARCH 2017 

There are 2 types of Due Process:

Procedural Due Process
This basically requires the Federal Government to follow certain procedures in criminal & civil manners.

Substantive Due Process
This ensures protection to an individuals rights to privacy & security.


(X)  (X)  (X)

REALLY GENERAL SPEEDY TRANSLATION OF DUE PROCESS:
Fair Procedures


END UPDATE FROM 18 MARCH 2017

- Based on research, there is also a reference to Due Process in Amendment 14 -

[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation[.]

If the government takes property to use for the public, the government must pay the owner the amount that it is worth.

Translation: The Federal Government cannot just come to your home & say here's five dollars for your house, we're creating a public road through here.

To summarize:
  • A Grand Jury is needed to determine if there is enough factual evidence to put a person on trial.
  • If someone in the Armed Forces commits a crime during war or national emergency, the Grand Jury is not needed for them to be put on trial - they have their own thing called The Uniform Code of Military Justice.
  • A person cannot be put on trial for the same crime twice.
  • The suspect of a crime cannot testify against themselves. The government determines if a person is innocent or guilty based on evidence.
  • Law Enforcement must inform the suspect in custody of their Miranda Rights.
  • Government must follow procedures (Due Process) & ensure the individual is treated fairly.
  • The Federal Government can take your property for public use BUT must give you the amount that it is worth as compensation.

_____
In what ways has President Trump & his administration done something that pertains to this Amendment:

UPDATE 15 MARCH 2017 

1.

This is an updated version of the Muslim Ban signed on March 6, 2017 which barres people from 6 predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Yemen.

How does this pertain to the 5th Amendment?

[It is a] [v]iolation of the equal protection guarantees of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause on the basis of religion, national origin, nationality, or alienage.




-if needed this will be updated from time to time.-



_____
Is there an Amendment you would like to know more of?
to be taken to a list & choose which one you would like to learn more about.

This is a series that is ongoing - Every Wednesday [ #WednesdayAmendment ] there will be an Amendment Explanation paired with what President Trump & his administration have done that pertains to the Amendment discussed.



Crash Course History: WHAT THE GODWIN

by 3:18 PM

When I first saw this protest sign, I read the beginning half as "It's not good anymore". Then, after I looked back at the photos I took, I realized it said 'Godwin'. [ I have a tendency to snap away on my phone while I'm walking, and when I get back home I look at the protest signs I took photos of - mainly because majority of them are extremely witty & A++ ]

So, what is Godwin?

After researching a bit, I managed to figure out what it meant.


The theory that as an online discussion progresses, it becomes inevitable that someone or something will eventually be compared to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis, regardless of the original topic.

So what does the sign REALLY mean when it says:

It's not
Godwin
Anymore.
It's Really
That Bad.

I understood it as we've gone past the phase of comparisons, because legit Trump is like Hitler's little prodigy in the 21st century.

In his Executive Order on Immigration, he requested that crimes done by immigrants will be made public and highlighted upon. If we backpedal a bit, Hitler actually did the same with Jews with a  paper called - The Criminal Jew.

I personally find myself pushing the breaks a bit like what do you mean with those comparisons calm down we're not there, we're smart not to go that route. But then I also have to remind myself that hey if you keep attempting to convince yourself that so and so is not like a person in the past you're going to wake up one day wondering where the signs were.

_____

~I'm going to go on a slight tangent~

In the beginning of President Trump's presidency I couldn't tell you what was what in government and essentially had the mindset: There's no point of even reading about it because you'll be less informed than the people who know everything. 

I used this as a valid reason not to engage or even think about politics because why would I engage in something that I am not 100% on like everyone else in the political world?  Well, plot-twist, the only way to understand is to start learning.

You can't halt your learning for the mere fact that there are others more advanced than you - strive to be at their level or above it, not remain below.

To actually understand what rights I have via the Constitution I've begun reading & researching and breaking the Amendments down in a series called # WednesdayAmendment. 

The only thing stopping you from learning is you - go and pick up that book & understand the world of politics. Although it may seem daunting, you can't leave the world of politics in your mind as a blank page in a word document -> fill it with words.

~ end of tangent ~
_____


This is effecting our life and lifestyle - this isn't Godwin anymore.

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

Desmond Tutu




Knowing Your Constitutional Rights [4]

by 11:32 AM

Amendment 4

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (X)

What does this mean?

Well, let's take it into parts.

What does The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures mean?

First, let's go on a slight tangent on why this Amendment was formed.

Prior to this Amendment, the British continuously searched homes freely - if there was resistance on the American civilian end, the British could essentially turn the home upside down [ as in make a mess of things ] such as breaking doors, packages; basically anything deemed valuable was likely to be taken and the home was searched thoroughly. (X)

This part of the Amendment ensures that American citizens will be able to feel safe in the comfort of their homes & not subject to random searches as what happened when America was Great Britain's colony.  

In order for there to be ANY search done, there must be a reasonable cause such as if it is known by factual evidence that criminal activity is occurring [ which equates to ensuring public safety ]

What does shall not be violated mean?

At the time this Amendment was formed this was  directed towards the British who mistreated the American civilians to searches without a valid reason.

Overall, the privacy of an American citizen is held in high regard & cannot be infringed without a proper cause [ as mentioned above in the case of obtaining factual evidence of criminal activity or something of that sort.]

What does [A]nd no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation mean?

In order for a search warrant to be granted to law enforcement, they must have factual evidence to support their reasonings; otherwise they are not allowed to conduct the search.


A judge would need to find probable cause by examining the full circumstances each case before issuing a Search Warrant.

To put it in simpler terms:

Probable cause = Search Warrant
No probable cause = No Search Warrant 


_
An easier guide:

1. The warrant must be filed without there being prejudice from the law enforcement officer. 
2. Factual evidence
3. The warrant can only be given by someone who is not involved with the case itself. (Basically someone with no strings attached to the case)
i.e. judge
4. The warrant must state the place to be searched & items to be seized.
Which means - law enforcement cannot say they are in need of one item on paper & instead take something else.

What does [A]nd particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. mean?

As mentioned as the very last requirement above: In order to search a place, there must be a reason and it must be stated the place to be searched & items to be taken. It is not possible for law enforcement to just walk up a place and essentially say OK. let's search this place and take some stuff because why not we have A search warrant just not THE search warrant for this house.

To summarize:

No Search Warrant for Private Civilian Homes = No permission to Search
*Abandoned property, however, can be searched without a Search Warrant.*


However, if the civilian DOES NOT CONSENT to evidence being obtained via a warrantless search then the 4th Amendment protects them &  law enforcement would have to obtain a Search Warrant given from a Judge in order to conduct a search.

Paraphrased slightly from the Cornell University Law School:

The goal of this Amendment : to protect people's right to privacy & freedom from random governmental intrusions.

_____
In what ways has President Trump & his administration done something that pertains to this Amendment:

[The effect of President's Trump Executive Order preventing travelers from 7 Majority Muslim Countries From Entering the United States]

1.

An excerpt from the CNN article:

Citizens must surrender laptops and phones if a border agent asks for them, but not passwords or social media information, CAIR-Florida spokesman Wilfredo A. Ruiz said. Border agents might give the device back and let the person go. Or they might hold onto it and seek a warrant to break it open.
_

With the NASA scientist - US-born & parents not from 7 countries on President Trump's ban [ father from: South India & Mother from: Germany & Scotland] the scientist felt pressured to give the PIN to the phone. In this case it could be considered consensual, but also raises the question if it was not, necessarily speaking, consensual by choice but by pressure?


2.
Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements

This lead to ICE Agents Showing Up Door to Door.  As stated above in the explanation of the Amendment -  In order for any search to be conducted there must be a warrant signed by a judge.


-if needed this will be updated from time to time.-



_____
Is there an Amendment you would like to know more of?
to be taken to a list & choose which one you would like to learn more about.

This is a series that is ongoing - Every Wednesday [ #WednesdayAmendment ] there will be an Amendment Explanation paired with what President Trump & his administration have done that pertains to the Amendment discussed.






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