What is “Due Process”?

criminal law procedure in Phoenix, AZ - judges' bench in the courthouse

What is “Due Process”?

In our last blog post, we discussed a well-known clause in our U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment that pertains to your right against self-incrimination. In today’s blog post we’ll highlight another part of our constitution, the phrase due process. These two little words actually appear in both the 5th and 14th Amendments. The Fifth Amendment states that: “[No Person] . . . shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Todd Coolidge of Coolidge Law Firm has over 25 years of experience in criminal law procedure in Phoenix, AZ. As a certified criminal law specialist, he’s got a tremendous understanding of due process in a courtroom.

The History of Due Process in America

To most of us, due process is just another term we’ve heard being used in a crime show on television. But the concept of legal due process began with the crafting of the two amendments mentioned earlier, dating all the way back to the time of the founding of our nation. As Americans, we know well that our ancestors immigrated to this land for the opportunity of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Having come from corrupt, and even tyrannical monarchies and judicial systems, our founding fathers wanted to be certain America’s citizens were treated fairly under the law, and that no law could be used against them to take away their inherent, God-given rights.

When the first British settlers arrived in America, they relied heavily on the Magna Carta to develop a fair and balanced legal system. The Magna Carta had been written in 1215 to protect Britain’s elite class from the unjust whims of the abusive monarch, King John. In essence, this document brought an end to the absolute power of the throne and held both the monarch and the people accountable to the law of the land.

What is Due Process?

Law.com defines due process as: “A fundamental principle of fairness in all legal matters, both civil and criminal, especially in the courts. All legal procedures set by statute and court practice, including notice of rights, must be followed for each individual so that no prejudicial or unequal treatment will result.”

In its present-day form, due process of the law encompasses certain procedural standards that the courts must uphold in order to protect personal liberty. In addition, it covers statutes and regulations on a range of liberty issues that prohibit court infringement.

As you can see, the ins and outs of criminal law procedure in Phoenix, AZ are intricate. That’s why you should let an experienced criminal defense attorney like Todd Coolidge handle your case. Give us a call today; we’ll be happy to discuss a strategy for your defense.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/21/2018) Phill Roeder (Flickr)