LETTER: To be secure

As with much else in the Constitution, I believe the Fourth Amendment has been misunderstood and distorted. The discussion mainly re
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

As with much else in the Constitution, I believe the Fourth Amendment has been misunderstood and distorted. The discussion mainly revolves around the terms "unreasonable" and "probable cause." It is assumed that unreasonable implies a "reasonable" standard. Somehow probable cause has become connected to the search.

"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..."

The plain language intends that any search or seizure conducted without a proper warrant, properly served, is automatically unreasonable and therefore prohibited. What person's security, i.e. privacy, can be protected when the state or the police can make their own judgments about what is "reasonable"?

The phrase "probable cause" is likewise clearly confined to the context of due process in the courts and not the judgment call of police. It is the warrant which depends upon probable cause and sworn testimony.

If we are not secure in our private persons, we can not be truly free. There can be no guarantee of liberty. In that condition we become subjects in a police state.

Kenneth S. Atkins

Sandusky