Essay about Fifth Amendment

2353 Words Mar 29th, 2008 10 Pages
Analysis of the Fifth Amendment
Katrina Krolak, Katia Denis and Dan Mullen
The University of Phoenix
U.S. Constitution
HIS 301
Georgia Mc Millen
March 17, 2008


The Fifth Amendment provides for certain personal protections including the right to avoid self-incrimination and the potential for criminal convictions based on double jeopardy. The analysis of the Fifth Amendment in this research will review the background of the amendment, and various interpretations throughout history. The impact of the Fifth Amendment on American society, and the potential for changes in the future will also be researched. The classroom text of the course U.S. constitution and the Internet will be used as sources of reference.
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As late as the eighteenth century no effective privilege against self-incrimination even existed for the average common-law criminal defendant (Witt, 1999). The right to remain silent at that time was little more than a right not to defend oneself at all. Self-incrimination cases almost never were reported arguments of American lawyers or the reported decisions of American judges. There is remarkably little information on how the clauses worked in practice in the early years. During these years self-incrimination were common-law rules rather than constitutional mandates. Early-nineteenth-century lawyers seldom had the opportunity to consider the meaning or purpose of the constitutional meaning of this amendment. That is not to say no cases existed but these cases were debated outside of the courtroom. Four established common-law rules interacted together effectively making self-incrimination provision in the constitution wholly superfluous (Witt, 1999). An example of this practice is apparent at a Pretrial Examination, common-law relied on the Justices of the Peace to interrogate the accused and report to the courts for the introduction of the trial. The Justice of the Peace was not sworn in so the statement was not taken under oath, this system was designed to elicit and to use self-incriminating

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