The Fourth Amendment of the United States’ Constitution is one of American’s the greatest rights. It ensures that every citizen is protected from unreasonable governmental searches and seizures of homes and personal property. When a person’s Fourth Amendment rights have been violated, the evidence found through the illegal search may not be used in the defendant’s case. In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee police face allegations of illegal searches and seizures.
Police say that at least six police officers are being investigated for allegations that they violated the Fourth Amendment rights of some Milwaukee residents. According to police, these allegations began a couple of years ago and a formal investigation on the alleged illegal searches began in March of this year.
One of the allegations involved rectal searches for drugs. The city has filed a claim on behalf of a man whose drug charges were dismissed during the accusations of illegal Milwaukee police searches. According to the claim against two Milwaukee police officers, one of the officers performed a cavity search of the man and recovered a plastic bag of cocaine from the man’s anus.
Generally, before police officers are able to perform a search of a home or personal property, they must obtain a search warrant. A search warrant may be found to be invalid if the warrant lacks specific information or contains false information. If a search warrant was not properly obtained, a defendant may file a motion to suppress evidence. A judge may then determine whether the evidence against the defendant may be used in the defendant’s criminal case.
The Fourth Amendment ensures that all citizens’ personal privacy is protected. All defendants deserve their constitutional guarantees. It is important to remember that every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “2 officers in Williams custody death tied to strip-search inquiry,” Gina Barton and John Diedrich, Sept. 28, 2012