The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
When most people think about the Fifth Amendment, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the self-incrimination clause; however, there are several equally important protections included in this amendment. Among these are the grand jury clause, double jeopardy clause, due process clause and the eminent domain clause.
The self-incrimination clause is a very important protection. If you've ever watched one of the popular court-based television shows, like Law & Order, then you've probably seen clever defense attorneys invoke the Fifth Amendment to get charges against their guilty clients dropped because of a "technicality."
As previously discussed, the framers of the Constitution did not write in these protections to shield criminals from justice. Rather, they were intended to be a guarantee against tyrannical government abusing the citizenry. The purpose is to keep the government from forcing a confession through force, coercion or deception.
The right to be excluded from self-incrimination has roots in English law, dating back to the 17th century trial of John Lilburne. Lilburne was a Puritan who opposed the hierarchy of church government being imposed across England. In 1637, he was prosecuted for attempting to smuggle Puritan pamphlets into England. Lilburne was sent before the Star Chamber, which was a court that had become infamous for oppressing political and religious dissidents. The Star Chamber met in secret, tortured witnesses and sentenced those it found guilty with anything unpleasant they could think of short of death – including mutilation, life imprisonment and exorbitant fines.
Sensing that the court was trying to trap him, Lilburne refused to take an oath requiring him to answer truthfully any question asked of him. As a result, he was put in the pillory (a device similar to stocks but evidently more painful; the main purpose is humiliation), whipped and sentenced to be imprisoned until he conformed and confessed to his crime. Lilburne spent three years in prison, during which time he wrote pamphlets detailing the injustices committed against him. Eventually, King Charles was forced to order his release because of the public outcry Lilburne created. In 1641, the Star Chamber was abolished.
The framers realized that unbridled government had virtually limitless resources to use against its citizens. Historically, victims of injustice had little recourse in redressing their innocence. Even in the colonies (prior to the ratification of the Constitution), torture was sometimes used to extract confessions in cases involving capital crimes – extreme pain, however, does not discriminate against the guilty. The Fifth Amendment necessarily puts the burden of proof on the prosecution.
In 1966, the Supreme Court decided on the historic Miranda v. Arizona case, under which persons who are taken into police custody must be informed of their Fifth Amendment rights. Miranda rights are one of the main "technicalities" trivialized on cop shows; often being spoken of with disdain. Technically speaking, there is no such thing as "Miranda rights" – your rights are already guaranteed by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. The correct term is actually "Miranda warning." Police are required to issue this warning to anyone taken into custody before they can be questioned:
1. You have the right to remain silent.
2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
3. You have the right to an attorney.
4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
Failure of the police to issue the Miranda warning advising suspects of their Fifth Amendment rights generally makes any evidence collected against them inadmissible in court. This includes confessions as well as any physical evidence discovered as a result of a confession, as it is presumed to be involuntarily submitted.
I cannot emphasize enough how this "technicality" should not be marginalized. The presumption of innocence is an essential principle of the justice system. However, the reality is that no one would face trial if everyone presumed them to be innocent. Police may assume your guilt and attempt to provide the prosecution with enough evidence to convict you. If the police assume your guilt, they aren't going to submit any evidence that could be used to prove your innocence. Notice, the Miranda warning does not state "anything you say can and will be used for you in a court of law." Even innocent people can be tricked into being guilty, which is why you should never, under any circumstances, talk to police without your lawyer present.
In case you were wondering, Miranda was actually retried after the Supreme Court overturned his case and was sentenced to 20-30 years in prison for kidnapping and rape, even after his confession was omitted. These protections were not included to shield criminals from justice, they were wisely included to protect you from injustice.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads:
- Glade Sun
County residents urged to vote
Cumberland County has around 39,000 registered voters, as well as a strong reputation for voter participation. However, as of press time on Tuesday, only 4,300 residents had taken advantage of early voting for the Aug. 7 primary and general elections. Local officials are predicting less than 50 percent of registered voters will cast their vote in the 14 days of early voting, plus election day. Only 23 percent of registered county voters participated in the May elections.
Board amends by-laws
At the July meeting of the Fairfield Glade Community Club, the board of directors approved a vote to amend the club's bylaws regarding uncontested elections of board members, effectively declaring Bob Diller and Steven Smith new board members.
Senior olympian on the run for good health
No one can get away with telling Naiad Kuhlman of Crossville that age is a barrier to exercise. The avid runner, personal trainer and instructor at Cumberland Medical Center’s Wellness Complex at Fairfield Glade won’t buy the excuse.
Get your mink coat on the road
It is interesting what animals you see crossing the roads sometimes. When animals cross roads, you can get a look at them, that wouldn't be possible if they stayed inside the cover of trees or grass. Sometimes, it is just a fleeting glance and you aren't sure what you saw. When you go into the woods looking for animals, they usually hide or leave the area before you even know they are around. But, roads are wide open with no cover. Also, most mammals are nocturnal, so they are out when we aren't. Anytime that I am on a two-lane road at night, I am always watching intently for wildlife in the headlights.
Read the latest edition of "The Bulletin"
The Crossville Chronicle-Glade Sun also publishes a newsletter called "The Bulletin" in which you'll find a schedule of Glade activities and events, a restaurant and dining guide, golf information, and even tour schedules. Click here for the latest PDF edition of "The Bulletin."
Patches of Life: The replacement years
I need a new refrigerator. There are some other things on order too as we seem to be in the replacement year of our life. Everything from the light bulbs to the computer seemed to agree that this is the year of replacement.
Abacus Column: Tennessee the third most corrupt state in the U.S.?
According to a recent article in Time magazine, Tennessee is ranked third among U.S. States in political corruption. I am not sure how they measure such crime in order to make such a charge. Does some purveyor of statistics identify the number of elected officials proved guilty in a court of law; or merely charged with corruption?
A Time 4 Paws celebrates pet adoption after 3 1/2 years
Three and a half years ago, a local no-kill animal welfare organization known as A Time 4 Paws (AT4P) received an important email. A Nashville animal shelter volunteer asked if AT4P could take two severely abused English Pointer mixes. The email said they didn't want to take back two dogs they had placed in foster care for fear they would have to kill them.
A Time 4 Paws collecting shoes to help Soles4Souls in fight against global poverty
Attention anyone with a closet! Those shoes no longer wanted are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.
That’s the message being delivered by A Time 4 Paws, which has launched an ongoing drive to collect shoes to help the poor. Used and new shoes can be dropped off at A Time 4 Paws in Crossville and can be left in the blue recycling bin outside labeled Soles4Souls.
FFG Treasure Hunt set for Sept. 5
The 2014 Fairfield Glade Treasure Hunt is set for Friday, Sept. 5. This has always been a fun evening for those who enjoy puzzle solving, figuring out clues or just having a good time.
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