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The Fifth Amendment

The Fifth Amendment research papers focus on the United States Constitution which specifies that no person “shall be compelled in a criminal case to be a witness against himself,” which is generally referred to as the privilege against self-incrimination. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution establishes the guarantee to due process by requiring that “no person…shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process is generally interpreted as extending the right to due process only to federal actions.

The Fifth Amendment

The Fifth Amendment and Due Process of Law

The Fifth Amendment requires due process of law.  The modern court has interpreted this amendment in a broad manner.  Since its earliest application the Court has continued to extend the protections afforded defendants.  The Fifth Amendment commands that “no individual 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.”  However, early American legal history shows that self-incrimination was not highly protected.  In fact, up to 1897 confessions could be coerced and even obtained through torture.  However, the Court has continued to shape the definition of an involuntary confession to include the denial of access to friends and family, the denial of requested counsel, and trickery.  The most famous case of denial of due process is Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).  The Supreme Court found that the defendants had not been properly apprised of their rights and the convictions could not withstand constitutional review.  Because of the decision in the Miranda case all defendants must now be made aware of their rights to representation and privilege against self-incrimination.

The repeal or modification of the Miranda rule articulated by the Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), will not result in more convictions because of the large number of Fifth Amendment protections against self incrimination.  The Miranda rules are procedural safeguards to insure that the due process of law is fully available to the accused, and is not a right, but rather a judicially made rule of procedure and evidence that can conceivably be replaced by another equally effective procedure established by statute or judicial decree.  At the same time, there are additional guarantees against the use of coercion during interrogations in order to obtain a confession, with the nature of police custody deemed to be inherently psychologically coercive.

The Fifth Amendment and Double Jeopardy

Double Jeopardy has been one of the central foundations of the criminal justice system since its inception. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that no individual can be tried twice for the same crime. Under the scope of criminal adjudication, this rule has applied in three settings: individuals cannot be prosecuted for a crime from which they have been exonerated; individuals cannot be prosecuted for a crime for which thy have already been convicted; and individuals cannot be punished twice for the same crimes.

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