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DUE PROCESS

a phrase introduced into American jurisprudence in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution; the principle that the government may not deprive an individual of life, liberty or property unless certain rules and procedures required by law are followed. The phrase does not have a fixed meaning, but embodies society’s fundamental notions of legal fairness. Specifically, the constitutional safeguard of SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS requires that all legislation, state or federal, must be reasonably related to a legitimate government objective. The concept of PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS guarantees procedural fairness where the government attempts to deprive one of his or her property or liberty; this requires notice and a fair hearing prior to a deprivation of life, liberty or property. EXAMPLE: Police in a municipality devise a scheme to produce a confession from Randy, who was accused of murder. The grail judge permits the prosecution to use the confession, and Randy is convicted. On appeal, a judge could find that the scheme violates procedural due process of law, based on the nature of the police scheme and the general nature of the American judicial system, which looks to produce convictions based on evidence acquired from sources other than the accused. In essence, due process is that level of process which is deemed fair based on a balancing of all interests. Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016

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