Burdeau and its Challengers

Burdeau and its Challengers















Burdeau and its Challengers

In overview, the Fourth Amendment forbids the performance of unreasonable seizures and searches. Additionally, the stipulation of the Fifth Amendment protects the civilian from coerced testimony, specifically against himself through guarding him from forced confessions and evaluations within court proceedings via compulsory measures. Interestingly, both provisions refer mainly to government action. However, in the private setting, the respective stipulations do not apply. As such, private security can engage in the mentioned processes pertaining to seizures and searches. Regardless of how irrational and illegal they may be under the said provisions, the inapplicability of these laws within the private context possesses little constraint. As such, evidence collected by private security from the search and seizure processes is considered admissible in court. This is clear in Burdeau v. McDowell whereby the Supreme Court declared that the Fourth Amendment was intended as a limitation on agencies acting upon sovereign authority (Burdeau v. McDowell, 1921). Nonetheless, with scrutiny based on the limited constraints on private searches, the Burdeau Doctrine possesses a myriad of challenges.

The participation of public police in a search without legal privilege or justification is deemed as a constitutional violation. Hence, the evidence gathered from the process is inadmissible in court (Vile, 2011). This is based on the Fourth Amendment. Accordingly, the Burdeau Doctrine relates to the inability of the said amendments when it comes to searches and seizures conducted by private security. Hence, does the Fourth Amendment’s stern obedience to the defense of privileges solely within the governmental and public context blindly ignore the reality facing public policing? This question provokes the need to mull over the legal differences plaguing the law of seizure within public and private settings. Simply, private police, enforcers, and security agents are allowed to exercise arrest privileges within a similar degree of authority as a private citizen. As such, their actions are not limited by any constitutional dimension in comparison to search, seizure and arrest activities conducted by public law enforcers (Ross, 2012).

The incongruity within the law of search, seizure, and arrest has elicited consistent scrutiny based on the citizen rights and the values of traditional justice. Despite the lack of manifestation within conservative police protections, certain concepts have been established regarding the inapplicability of the said amendments in search, seizure, and arrest regulations. With respect to the Burdeau Doctrine, various conjectures have been established in order to challenge the respective tenet. Foremost, the Platinum Platter Doctrine oversees the involvement of public officials in searching, seizing and presenting obtained evidence to federal officials (Nemeth, 2012). Based on this concept, the evidence can be admissible regardless of it being attained illegally. However, the doctrine fails to overturn the Burdeau tenet based on repudiation by the Supreme Court due to the proof of unreasonable seizure and search by officers of the state.

However, a challenge that may apply in this case is evident in the event that private action is depicted as a state action (Nemeth, 2012). By ascertaining the involvement or influence of the state in the activities pertaining to search, seizure and arrest by private security, the Burdeau doctrine can be overturned in favor of public policing. The case involving the State of Tennesee and Hudson is a fair illustration. In State of Tennessee v. Hudson, the court declared that the performance of the private guard was adequately connected to the government (Nemeth, 2012). As such, it qualified as a state action. In this respect, the Fourth Amendment sustains applicability in this case irrespective of the involvement of private security. Thus, by tying the actions of private security agents to the state, it may be possible to reverse decisions based on the Burdeau Doctrine and the conflict it presents to public policing.

In conclusion, the Burdeau Doctrine provides an effective illustration of the legal limitations affecting the involvement of the police in the processes of search, seizure, and arrest. With the Fourth Amendment exuding constraint to the activities of private officers and law enforcers, conservative police protections possess limited support to materialize above constitutional limitations. However, by connecting the actions of private security to the government, there is probability in overturning the Burdeau Doctrine and the inapplicability of the Fourth Amendment.
















Burdeau v. McDowell, 256 U. S. (1921). Retrieved from https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/256/465/case.html

Nemeth, C. P. (2012). Private security and the law. Boston, MA: Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann.

Ross, D. L. (2012). Civil liability in criminal justice. Waltham, MA: Anderson Pub.

Vile, J. R. (2011). A companion to the United States Constitution and its amendments. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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