Wednesday, September 29, 2010

5th Amendment Artwork

"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"
- 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution

There are a couple of different things that the 5th Amendment deals with:

Indictment by a Grand Jury:
  • Nobody can go to trial for a serious crime, except in a military setting, without first being indicted by a grand jury.

Double Jeopardy:
  • The Fifth Amendment also mandates that defendants, once acquitted on a charge, may not be tried again for the same offense at the same jurisdictional level. Defendants may be tried again if the previous trial ended in a mistrial or hung jury, if there is evidence of fraud in the previous trial, or if the charges are not precisely the same.

Lastly, Pleading the Fifth:
  • The best known clause in the Fifth Amendment is "No person ... shall be compelled in a criminal case to be a witness against himself," it protects suspects from forced self-incrimination. When a suspect invokes his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, this is referred to in the vernacular as "pleading the Fifth." It should not by any means be taken as a sign of guilt, but it is generally portrayed as such in courtroom television dramas.
I have never been in a situation where the 5th Amendment could really affect me, but in the future I do find it important that the amendment is in place. Below is a simple cartoon illustrating the fifth amendment. The student says to the teacher "I learned in school today that you can't take the Fifth Amendment on a spelling test." What I take from this illustration is that the student is saying that he cannot plead the fifth on the test. There is no way he can get out of it, I found it a little funny but at first I did not understand the cartoon.

Cartoon Stock

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