The Fifth Amendment: Rights of Accused Suspects and Property Owners

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“I plead the Fifth.” This well-known expression is used by an individual who refuses to answer a question that may incriminate him. This phrase references the Fifth Amendment to the Bill of Rights (Brezina 15). The Bill of Rights protects the fundamental rights of Americans, including the rights of free speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion (Teitelbaum 8). The Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights guarantees the rights of a person accused of committing a crime (Teitelbaum 15). Ever since the American government took the responsibility to create the Bill of Rights, the Fifth Amendment has protected the rights of accused suspects and property owners. It was the duty of the founding fathers to establish a government and protect its citizens (Burger 5).

The Articles of Confederation was a document created before the Bill of Right united the thirteen colonies (Teitelbaum 7). The Articles of Confederation protected the independence of the states but did not give the federal government necessary powers. The federal government could not make trade agreements with other nations, collect taxes directly from the people or enforce laws and rules. Also, there were hardly any individual rights for citizens (Armentrout 13). America needed a stronger document on which to base their new country (Teitelbaum 7).

In May of 1787, fifty-five delegates met in Philadelphia to fix the Articles of Confederation. Many delegates thought the Articles of Confederation could not be corrected; therefore, they decided to write a constitution which was completed in the next four months (Armentrout 14). In September of 1787, the Constitution was signed by thirty-nine of the fifty-five delegates. The delegates agreed to have the ...

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Gold, Susan D. Miranda v. Arizona (1966): Suspects’ Rights. New York. Twenty-First Century Books. 1995.

Holland, Jessie. “Supreme Court Rules That Pre-Miranda Silence Can Be Used In Court.” Huffington Post. 17 Jun. 2013.

Smith, Rich. Fifth Amendment: The Right to Fairness. Edina, Minnesota. ABDO Publishing Company, 2008.

Teitelbaum, Michael. The Bill of Rights. Chanhassen, Minnesota. The Child’s World, 2005.
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