Due Process Model Law & Legal Definition


A due process model is type of justice system which is based on the principle that a citizen has some absolute rights and cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property without appropriate legal procedures and safeguards. Due process involves both procedual and substantive aspects. Procedural due process requires fairness in the methods used to deprive a person of life, liberty or property, while substantive due process requires valid governmental justification for taking a person's life' liberty or property. Due process requirements apply to both criminal and civil law.

Due process generally requires fairness in government proceedings. A person is entitled to notice and opportunity to be heard at a hearing when they have life, liberty. or property at stake. Laws should be applied to persons equally, without discrimination on prohibited grounds, such as gender, nationality, handicap, or age. In criminal cases, fair procedures help to ensure that an accused person will not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, which occurs when an innocent person is wrongly convicted. Due process requirements apply to such government proceedings as trials, parole hearings, and administrative hearings involving benefits, among others.

For example, when a person's home is in danger of tax foreclosure, the notice of delinquency is required to be sent within a certain time period and the person must be allowed to pay the full amount owed before it is sold to a third party. If there is an error in taxation or the person wishes to contest the appraisal, an appeals process is available.

Another example is that any person who is charged with a crime has , amongst other due process rights, a right to be adequately notified of the charges or proceedings against them, a right to a speedy trial and the opportunity to be heard and represented by an attorney at these proceedings.

The Alabama Constitution provides its citizens complete protection as that afforded by United State Constitution. In Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 53 S. Ct. 55, 77 L. Ed. 158 (1932)the United States Supreme Court reversed and remanded the decision of Alabama Supreme Court and determined that a defendant must be given access to counsel upon his/her own request, in a capital trial as part of due process.

Sec. 6 as it appears in the Alabama Declaration of Rights, Article I:

That in all criminal prosecutions, the accused has a right to be heard by himself and counsel, or either; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; and to have a copy thereof; to be confronted by the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; to testify in all cases, in his own behalf, if he elects so to do; and, in all prosecutions by indictment, a speedy, public trial, by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense was committed; and he shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, except by due process of law; but the legislature may, by a general law, provide for a change of venue at the instance of the defendant in all prosecutions by indictment, and such change of venue, on application of the defendant, may be heard and determined without the personal presence of the defendant so applying therefore; provided, that at the time of the application for the change of venue, the defendant is imprisoned in jail or some legal place of confinement.