civil rights

Miranda Warning


"Miranda warning" refers to the constitutional requirement that once an individual is detained by the police, there are certain warnings a police officer is required to give to a detainee.

CRS Annotated Constitution:

Fifth Amendment: Miranda v. Arizona

Fundamental Right


Fundamental rights are a group of rights that have been recognized by the Supreme Court as requiring a high degree of protection from government encroachment.  These rights are specifically identified in the Constitution (especially in the Bill of Rights), or have been found under Due Process

Right to counsel


The right to counsel refers to the right of a criminal defendant to have a lawyer assist in his defense, even if he cannot afford to pay for an attorney. The Sixth Amendment gives defendants the right to counsel in federal prosecutions.


A reason why the plaintiff or prosecutor should not prevail on a cause of action or demand for relief.  A defense can either allege a failure to state a claim, or affirm the existence of a claim and present additional reasons that prevent the plaintiff or prosecutor from obtaining the result requested.

Absolute Disparity


A calculation used to analyze a claim that a jury pool did not represent a fair cross-section of the community. Calculated by subtracting the percentage of a group in the jury pool from the percentage of that group in the general population.

Illustrative case law

See, e.g. Berghuis v. Smith, 130 S.Ct. 1382 (2010).


Knock-and-announce rule


Under the common law knock-and-announce rule, a police officer executing a search warrant generally must not immediately force his or her way into a residence. Instead, the officer must first knock, identify himself or herself and his or her intent, and wait a reasonable amount of time for the occupants to let him or her into the residence.


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