At the beginning of our national history, it was written in our earliest state and national constitutions that "all men are born free and equal, and have natural, essential, and unalienable rights." Over time, the phrase "all men" began to be defined as "all men," meaning mankind, a word including women, children, and minorities. This expanding concept was interpreted as granting to all men and women, regardless of race, or ethnicity, or national origin, or age, the right to equal treatment under all the laws and the rules and regulations promulgated under them. Due process refers to the means, guaranteed by the Constitution, for insuring that the government provides justice to its citizens in all legal proceedings. With regard to the criminal justice system, due process means that a defendant accused of a crime must be told of the charges against him or her, have the opportunity to present a defense against such charges at a trial, and have the services of counsel and the right to an appeal. As stated by fellow student Melissa Devault "Due process begins when an investigation of a particular suspect related to a crime begins. It also extends through arrest, interrogation, trial, and sentencing. It is .
concerned more in some areas then others but it does cover the entire process. These due process rights derive from the fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth Amendments to the Constitution. Although the first ten Amendments were intended to apply only to actions of the Federal Government, over the years the courts have been able to extend due process rights to those accused of violating state law via the 14th Amendment, that says, "No State shall . deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." This legal principle is known as incorporation. What is due process, this concept might seem at best an easy definition that could be explained in a sentence or two.