Example Of The Fifth Amendment Course Work

Published: 2021-06-21 23:47:57
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The constitution protects all citizens without any discrimination and the Fifth Amendment, the American Constitution grants people the right against self-incrimination. Any person facing arrest has the right to remain silent while in custody as well as in the courts. In the Fifth Amendment, one is given the rights not to be a witness in any case that he/she is involved This Amendment applied to both the state and federal courts in the US.
In the case Riley v.Dorton .115 F.3d 1159 (1997),”Following the plain text of Amendment nobody should be allowed to be a witness against himself/herself, many of the courts do not disapprove the Fifth Amendment and do not find any violation in the Amendment in cases where a statement is made, but is not used in the criminal proceedings.

The Supreme Court in 1966 decided in Miranda v.Arizona, 384 U.S .436, to issue protection from any compelled self-incrimination during any inherently coercive custodial interrogations. According to the Miranda rights, any person who is being interrogated has the right to remain silent and anything that he/she says can be used against him/her in a court of law. The rights state that any person facing police interrogation has the right to speak to an attorney, and if he/she cannot afford, he/she has the right to be provided an attorney by the government (Ingram,2009).

All the Miranda rights were made clear and the person who made the confession clearly knew his rights. There was no family member who tried to prevent the police from questioning the family member who has cases of mental illness without a lawyer being present. The person being questioned in this case can be considered to have waived his rights, the waiver is considered “knowing and intelligent." The confession in this case is, therefore, valid since there was no case of coercion. Once the impact of confession has been made it is challenging to consider the confession incase a trial occurs. There have been proposed changes on the Miranda right aimed to protect people with cases of mental illness from incriminating themselves during interrogation (Ingram, 2009).

Those who propose for the changes argue that evidence provided by a person who suffers from mental illness without the presence of a lawyer cannot be used since a police officer cannot determine whether the person had any mental condition at the time when the confession is issued. During the trial, an individual who has cases of mental illness has to undergo a psychiatric examination, which also determines the credibility of the evidence.

In cases whereby body fluid such as the blood sample is extracted against the will of a person and used as evidence, the Fifth Amendment does not apply. Body fluid does not constitute testimonials made through word of mouth or writing. The Fifth Amendment only applied to communicable evidence and not body fluids. Using body fluid as evidence is similar to the use of fingerprints and or carrying out DNA tests and using it as evidence. In Schmerber v.California,384 U.S .757(1966)the court ruled that physical evidence which includes, blood, urine, fingerprints, samples of personal handwriting and photographs are not protected by the Fifth Amendment (Tayloy,2004). The evidence has to be scientifically analyzed a, when the credibility of the medical expert is in doubt the evidence can be dismissed.


Ingram, J. (2009). Criminal procedure: theory and practice (2 ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Taylor, J. B. (2004). The right to counsel and privilege against self-incrimination rights and liberties under the law. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.

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