Fifth Amendment Essay

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The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury…nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property… nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation"(Cornell). The clauses within the Fifth Amendment outline constitutional limits on police procedure. Within them there is protection against self-incrimination, it protects defendants from having to testify if they may incriminate themselves through the testimony. A witness may plead the fifth and not answer to any questioning if they believe it can hurt them (Cornell). The Bill of Rights, which consists of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, enumerates certain basic personal liberties. Laws passed by elected officials that infringe on these liberties are invalidated by the judiciary as unconstitutional. The Fifth Amendment was ratified in 1791; the Framers of the Fifth Amendment intended that its revisions would apply only to the actions of the federal government. After the Fourteenth was ratified, most of the Fifth Amendment's protections were made applicable to the states. Under the Incorporation Doctrine, most of the liberties set forth in the Bill of Rights were made applicable to state governments through the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment (Burton, 2007). The one exception to asking questions without warning is if there is some type of danger to the public, which allows officers to engage in questioning. The government cannot force citizens to tes... ... middle of paper ... ...ained in their questioning. Officers commonly have small cards with the Miranda warnings on them so they don’t forget or skip over a part of ones right, if this does occur evidence still cannot be properly obtained because the person was not fully warned of all their rights. Currently, the only unwarned questioning that can occur is if the officer believes the public is in some type of danger. For example, if police come across a man standing in a convenience store that fits the description of recent thefts in a nearby neighborhood and the man runs once police confront him and is later caught and searched, when upon the search they realize he has an empty shoulder holster. In this scenario the public is in potential danger, the police can ask him where the gun is hidden without reading the man his rights and it would not be violating his Fifth Amendment rights.

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