Excelsior College Fourth Amen

Part 1 – M1.5: Discussion: Exploring the Amendment

By this point you may have recognized that the amendment that most directly applies to the scenario in M1.2 is the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment is written as follows:

“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, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
-Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

For a brief overview of the Fourth Amendment, please watch the following video:


Below is a case that is key to understanding how the Fourth Amendment applies to the field of criminal justice:

Mapp v. Ohio

Click here for a summary of the case and its conclusion. (Links to an external site.)

Please watch the documentary below about the Mapp v. Ohio case and its impact on the Fourth Amendment:


Engage in a discussion about the Fourth Amendment, thinking in both general terms and in regard to the scenarios in this module. Respond to the following prompts in your initial post:

  • Find two other cases that are important Fourth Amendment cases. Share them in your post and explain why they are impactful.
    • If you can find any videos or other resources to accompany the specific cases, include those as well.
    • You can model this portion of your post based on the Key Cases section above.
  • Why do you believe the Fourth Amendment is important to the following pillars of the field of criminal justice (choose only one for your response)?: 
    • Police
    • Courts
    • Corrections
  • Have there been any instances in your career where the Fourth Amendment became an issue?
  • Now that you know for sure that the Fourth Amendment applies to the traffic stop scenario in M1.2, do you have any further thoughts about that scenario that have not already been discussed?

Part 2 – M1.6: Discussion: Social Media

Over the past few years we have seen social media play an increasingly important role in the way the public learns about cases and often people form opinions even before events have been investigated. While the immediate access to information can be good for transparency, it can lead to real issues that distract criminal justice practitioners from doing their jobs.

Before continuing, please watch the following video:

In the scenario presented in M1.1, Officer Slager’s department was initially supportive of him and the narrative he presented in his incident report. However, shortly thereafter a video was posted to social media by a witness who caught the shooting on a cell phone camera. Once the video was posted, people suddenly had a new perspective of the events and people quickly began forming their own opinions and taking sides. The case was thrust to the forefront of national attention as the media descended on the town.

The original footage captured by the witness is available here: Click to view the cell phone footage (Links to an external site.)

There are some key facts that drove the social media narrative:

  • Officer Slager is a white man and Mr. Scott was black.
  • In the town where the shooting occurred, whites make up 37% of the total population but 80% of police officers are white.
  • Officer Slager appears to drop an item next to Mr. Scott after the shooting.


This activity is broken into two parts. First, you will create a social media post related to the case in M1.1 and then you will share it on the discussion board and discuss its potential impact.

  • Make sure you have viewed the witness’ cell phone footage on YouTube before continuing.
  • Create a mock social media post (do not actually post it on social media but create a mock up as if it was on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) related to the case in M1.1.
  • Your post can be from the perspective you choose. Some potential options are listed below but you may take on another role if you have one in mind that would be interesting:
    • Family member of any involved individual
    • Member of the media
    • Politician
    • Protestor/Activist
    • Casual observer

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