Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

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

Anything you say can and will be used against you in court..

Interrogation isn’t always bright lights and rubber hoses – usually it’s just a conversation. Whenever the cops ask you anything besides your name and address, it’s legally safest to (respectfully) say these Magic Words:

      “I am going to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer.”

You can, and must keep your mouth shut for protection under the 5th Amendment. Belnap vs United States, Et al, District Court, (Utah), No C. 149-71.

The history and development of the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination has been one of slow but sure expansion of the benefits of its protection. James Madison, the prime author of this provision in the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, sought this provision to prevent the development in our country of proceedings similar to or identical with Spanish Inquisitions or Star Chamber proceedings.

A cursory examination of the William Penn Case, 6 How. St. Tr. 951 (1670), reveals that resort to “Spanish Inquisitions” has on many occasions been desired in order to bring about the efficient operation of governmental machinery; this is what Madison desired to avoid by inserting the Fifth Amendment into our Constitution.

The original intent or purpose for the Fifth Amendment was to compel the government to procure independent evidence of the facts and proof of a crime other than through the mouth of the accused. Without such a requirement and with the availability of procedures such as the Inquisition or Star Chamber, the government could constantly harass law abiding citizens and might on some occasion procure, through duress and coercion, a confession. But as is well known, such confessions are highly suspect, hence we have the protection of the Fifth Amendment.

Government seeking to punish an individual must produce evidence against him by its own independent labors, rather than by the cruel, simple expedient of compelling it from his mouth.

Privilege against self-incrimination is fulfilled only when person is guaranteed MIRANDA RIGHT to remain silent unless he chooses to speak in unfettered exercise of his own will.

Defendant’s constitutional rights have been violated if his conviction is based, in whole or in part, on involuntary confession, regardless of its truth or falsity, even if there is ample evidence aside from confession to support conviction. Fifth amendment privilege is available out of criminal court proceedings and serves to protect persons in all settings in which their freedom of action is curtailed, form being compelled to incriminate themselves.

Prosecution may not use at trial fact that defendant stood mute or claimed his privilege in face of accusations. Any statement taken after person invokes fifth amendment privilege cannot be other than product of compulsion. Any evidence that accused was threatened, tricked, or cajoled into waiver will show that he did not voluntarily waive privilege to remain silent.

Where rights secured by the constitution are involved, there can be no rule-making or legislation which would abrogate them. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 468.

One of the most appropriate statements concerning the Fifth Amendment and its operation was made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall in the case of United States v. Aaron Burr. Chief Justice Marshall, quoted in Counselman v. Hitchcock, 142 U.S. 547, 565, 12 S.Ct. 195 (1892), maintained that a witness could plead the Fifth Amendment not only in situations where his answer to a question would directly implicate him in a crime, but also in response to questions the answer to which would provide a link in the chain of evidence needed to convict the witness of a crime.

Protection from compulsory testimony designed to implicate a witness in a crime has been secured through the Fifth Amendment and has been one of the most sacred principles known to American jurisprudence.

This principle of the Fifth Amendment protection from compulsory testimony, absent a grant of immunity, has seen no erosion in its application since first expounded and requires but few citations to support it; see Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43, 26 S.Ct. 370 (1906), Blau v. United States, 340 U.S. 159, 71 S.Ct. 223 (1950), and Hoffman v. United States, 341 U.S. 479, 71 S.Ct. 814 (1951).