October 08, 2009

The Fifth Amendment.

"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 offence 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."

The Fifth Amendment is probably the most well-known amendment due to the popular phrase, "I plead the fifth". This amendment ensures that American citizens have the right to a trial by jury, they cannot be tried for the same crime more than once, and they do not have to speak about anything that may incriminate themselves. This amendment also states that they will not be deprived of "life, liberty, or property". In the last statement, "...nor shall private property be taken for public use,without just compensation" it is said that the government cannot take your private property to make room for roads, etc. without first giving you "just compensation". Although this all sounds ideal, there are always many complaints about what truly is "just compensation" and if the American people are truly receiving it when their property is taken from them.

This court room video shows an attorney pleading for fifth amendment rights on behalf of his client.

This second video is a wonderful video on the fifth amendment. It is a law professor going through in detail and explaining the fifth amendment from a defense attorney's point of view. This video helped me understand the fifth amendment a little bit more in depth.