Essay about The Fifth Amendment and Self-Incrimination

833 Words Sep 21st, 2011 4 Pages
The fifth amendment states that, “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 offense 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”. Would the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination prohibit the government from any of the following: requiring …show more content…
Communication must itself, explicitly or implicitly, relate a factual assertion or disclose information” that is “the expression of the contents of an individual’s mind”. In other words, the information must come directly from the person’s mind.

The Fifth Amendment to some instance prevents law enforcement from obtaining and using illegal evidence against the defendant in the court of law. The government also would not be prohibited from requiring a person to produce income tax records. However if the defendant reasonably believes that any disclosures on his/her tax return can be used to prosecute him/her or can lead to other evidence to incriminate him/her, the defendant can chose to take the fifth. In the case United States v. Sullivan, 274 U.S. 259 (1927), the United States Supreme Court ruled that a taxpayer could not invoke the Fifth Amendment's protections as the basis for refusing to file a required federal income tax return. The Fifth Amendment privilege protects against the compulsion of ''testimonial'' disclosures, hence, requiring a person in custody to stand or walk in a police lineup, to speak prescribed words, to model particular clothing, or to give samples of handwriting, fingerprints, or blood does not compel him/her to self-incrimination. However, compelling him/her to produce private documents may be considered as self-incrimination.

The challenge here is how to avoid

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