Immunity in the U.S. Court

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The right to not incriminate one’s self is established within the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. The Fifth Amendment states, “No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself” (Davenport, 2006, P. 87). People may plead the fifth as a means of refusing to answer questions about alleged criminal activities. The right to not self incriminate, is a fundamental right meant to protect individuals from being forced into giving evidence that could be used against one’s self. This concept against self incrimination extended to forced confessions due to Miranda v. Arizona. In the Miranda case, the Supreme Court decided that police have an obligation to inform a suspect to his rights under Constitution. The prosecution needs to show that the defendant was mirandized and that the confession being used by the prosecution as evidence was not coerced from the defendant. The individual needs to know they have the right to remain silent. In addition, confessions need to have been obtained voluntarily (Davenport, 2006). Of course, even the right to remain silent has limitations. One of those limitations is being given immunity. If a defendant is given immunity they can be compelled to testify. The rule has been “that a person who receives immunity can be compelled to testify, no matter how personally embarrassing or humiliating testifying may be” (Davenport, 2006). Immunity falls into two categories: use and transactional. Use immunity is when “a witness may not be prosecuted based on grand jury testimony he or she provides but may be prosecuted based on evidence acquired independently from that testimony” (Neubauer, 2011, p. 467). When a defendant is granted use immunity, anything said to inv... ... middle of paper ... ...: Pearson Education, Inc. Kastigar v. United States - Case Background. (2009). Retrieved February 18, 2011, from Kastigar v. United States - Case Background, How Comprehensive Must The Offered Immunity Be? (2009). Retrieved February 18, 2011, from Kastigar v. United States. (2011). Retrieved February 18, 2011, from Muldoon, G. (2008). Issue: Immunity from Prosecution. Retrieved February 18, 2011, from Neubauer, D. W. (2008). America's Courts and the Criminal Justice System. Mason, OH: Thomson. WITNESS IMMUNITY. (2011). Retrieved February 18, 2011, from
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