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The Fifth Amendment

Being one of the ten components of the Bill of Rights, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution outlines fundamental constitutional boundaries of the police procedure. Numerous experts highlight the tremendous impact of its clauses on the development of fair legal proceeding in the United States. Nevertheless, some scholars focus on certain negative consequences of the above-mentioned legislation.

The Fifth Amendment as the Landmark of American Justice System

The Background of the Fifth Amendment

James Madison, the fourth U.S. President, introduced the Fifth Ammendment in 1789. The legislation was ratified in 1791. Being developed from the Grand Juries Clause and the Due Process Clause from Magna Charta, the Fifth Ammendment has rather complicated timeline. During several centuries, the Supreme Court has clarified establishing details in its interpretation. The Murray’s Lessee v Hoboken Land and Improvement Co. case of 1856 clearly illustrates it. Federal authorities took private property from Samuel Swartwout on account of his debt exceeding $1 billion. Samuel misappropriated the state money to buy land in New Jersey. According to the act of 1820, the deal had to be cancelled, returning the ceized money to its owner. Nevertheless, the debtor claimed that the seizure of the property violated his rights provided by the Fifth Amendment. Taking into account all the details, the Supreme Court returned a verdict that confiscation of property without full hearing does not contravene the Fifth Amendment right to due process. In 1857, Dred Scott v. Sandford case occured. Dred Scott was a slave from Missouri. For ten years, he had been living in Illinois, being considered a free person on the ground of the Missouri compromise of 1820. Ariving at his native land, he filed a lawsuit to gain his personal freedom. The Court refused the man finding that slaves could not be seized from their masters by federal law, because slaves were considered to be private property. Therefore, Dred Scott’s freedom would violate the Fifth Amendment’s right forbidding taking private property without just compensation. In 1876, Kohl v. United States case sets a precedent for the right of the government to take private property. The Supreme Court established the right of the federal authorities to take land in Cincinnatifor public needs.

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In 1922, a bootlegger Vito Lanza was repeatedly convicted of flouting the Volstead Act that belonged to federal legislation. Two years earlier, this enterpreneur had been accused of producing, transporting and owning poisonous substance, breaking Washington state legislation. The Supreme Court found that conviction in both federal and state courts cannot be considered double jeopardy violating the Fifth Amendment. The same year, Ng Fung v.White case arose. Five China’s citizens commited a crime on the territory of the United States. The Supreme Court established the rule that due process demands a hearing before a suspect’s deportation. In 1924, McCarthy v. Arndstein case arose. An unintentional bankrupt refused to testify against himself, referring on the Fifth Amendment. The Supreme Court proclaimed that the right against self-incrimination may extend on civil cases. In 1943, in Hirabayashi v. United States case, the Supreme Court returned a verdict claiming that curfew regulations did not break due process rights. During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosvelt introduced two legislations to stop subversion and espionage. Student Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi was accused of breaking a curfew and relocation law. The Supreme Court considered the President’s orders constitutional and not violating the Fifth Amendment. In 1944, Harvey Jackson used hidden radio devices in four tals with the defendant White. Representatives of the authorities noticed that crime and filed the lawsuit. During the proceeding, the Supreme Court found that a labor union could not reject the official demand to testify against itself. Thus,the Supreme Court made a precedent returning a verdict that organizations did not have the right against self-incrimination. In 1966, the case of Ernesto Miranda, aged 23, who was detained and accused of kidnapping and rape became the milestone in assuring suspects’ constitutional rights. The man was found guilty based on a supposed confession and sentenced to twenty years in jail. Miranda’s attorneys took the case to the United States Supreme Court insisting on the retrial. They stated that Miranda’s confession was invalid because the law enforcement did not inform him about the right to remain silent provided by the Fifth Amendment. As a result, the Supreme Court overturned Miranda’s conviction finding the man innocent. In 1069, Benton v. Maryland case took place. John Dalmer Benton was accused of larceny and burglary. The court found him innocent in larceny considering the man guilty of committing burglary. Later, the juries of that court were consideredto be unconstitutional because of changing the legislation. Therefore, Benton had to repeatedly undergo the legal proceeding. Despite the decision of partial acquital of the first trial, that time, the man was charged of both crimes. After detailed consideration of the case, the Supreme Court considered the second trial to be double jeopardy. Thus, it established the implementation of double jeopardy in state trials. In 1993, the court found James Daniel Good guilty of possession drugs. Later, the federal authorities seized his house and land, without informing Good. The Supreme Court returned a verdict that established advance notice and a full hearing to be necessary steps in the legislative proceeding of taking the criminal’s property. In 2003, Sattazahn v. Pennsylvania case occured. David Sattazahn was accused of a murder. The court imposed a life sentence. Later, Sattazahn appealed for the retrial. Nevertheless, the repeated court sentenced him to death. The Supreme Court claimed that a death sentence after the passed second trial did not violate the Fifth Amendment.

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Key Ideas of the Fifth Amendment

The Fifth Amendment deals with five discrete legal rights. They provide the grand juries for capital crimes, protection against double jeopardy, ban on demanded self-incrimination, firm promise that all criminal defendants will have a just formal examination of evidence in a court of law, and entitlement to fair recompense when the authorities take private property for public needs.

Grand jury

The first clause of the Fifth Amendment guarantees a defendant’s right to be heard by a grand jury. The legislation 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”. Grand jury proceedings differ from a court trial. Grand jury investigates federal cases to find if the suggested evidences against a suspect are compelling for the prosecution, while a court trial returns a verdict of guilt or innosence of the accused person. In fact, grand juries take roots from old Britain where the above-mentioned body kept the accused individuals safe from severe British prosecution. Congressional statutes define the conditions of choosing the members of Grand Juries. Typically, the grand jurors are determined from the group of potential jurors. The common-law is the key legislation on the interpretation of the Grand Jury Clause. According to the common law, the number of the members in Grand Juries fluctuates between 12 and 23 jurors. Despite the right of the state legislatures to establish the quantity of grand jurors, the authorities’ decisions beyond the specified interval contravene the Fifth Amendment. According to Federal law, the federal grand jury number may fluctuate between 16 and 23 members. The accused individual has the right to “challenge members of the grand juror for partiality or bias, but these challenges differ from peremptory challenges, which a defendant has when choosing a trial jury”. In the case of a peremptory challenge made by a defendant, the judge replaces the juror ignoring providing any evidence. Nevertheless, the individual making challenge must give the reasons of the challenge “by meeting the same burden of proof as the establishment of any other fact would require”.

Grand juries enjoy considerable power of the official examination of the facts about suspected crimes. Nevertheless, there are severe restictions on grand juries’ activities. First, they do not enjoy the right to organize a legal proceeding carried on the primary purpose of interrogating an adversary or examining an individual’s property. Second, they may not involve a foreign party ignoring the government accreditation to locate testimany or documents. Eventually, the members of grand juries have the right to make a presentment sharing their valid suspicions of the suspect’s guilt with the court.

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Guarantees against double jeopardy

The Double Jeopardy Clause keeps a person safe from “the harassment … through successive prosecutions of the same alleged act”. Such issue guarantees the importance of an acquittal forbidding emotional, psychological, corporal, and financial misfortunes caused by numerous lawsuits for the same infamous crime. To avoid this problem, an individual is ensured of three discrete rights. First, a defendant is protected against another harassment after his/her acquittal. Second, a defendant is kept safe from a second prosection after his/her conviction. Third, a defendant has a guarantee against numerous penalizing for the same infamous crime. Nevertheless, the Double Geopardy Clause does not mean the prohibition to review the verdict or shorting a sentence’s period after a defendant’s victorious retrial. In fact, the idea of the Double Geopardy Clause concerns the hazard of conviction.

Protection against self-incrimination

The Fifth Amendment keeps criminal defendants safe from the self-incrimination. A witness has the right to refuse to tesify in case he/she considers the information harmful for himself/herself. Taking into account Miranda v. Arizona ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court expanded the rights provided by the Fifth Amendment. Embracing all the stages of criminal process, the clause of the above-mentioned legislation suggests a suspect’s acguantance with all his/her rights at the stage of taking the suspect into custody by law enforcement. The set of rights got the name of ‘Miranda rights’ comprising “the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney present during questioning, and the right to have a government-appointed attorney if the suspect cannot afford one”. On the other hand, the clause of the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination does not mean that a suspect’s testimony against himself/herself may not be considered in the legal proceeding. Berghuis v.Thimpkins illustrates the issue. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court returned a verdict finding the suspect guilty taking into account his self-incriminating testimony. The Supreme Court considered the suspect’s confession as a waiver of his right to remain silent,  because he had been informed about the Fifth Amendment.

Certain concerns arose after adopting the Crime Control and Safe Streets Act that this legislation countermanded the demands of Miranda. Some experts argue that Miranda deals with judicial policy in its major part, diminishing the real manifistation of Fifth Amendment guarantees. Nevertheless, returning into verdict in Dickerson v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected this reasoning. It stated that Miranda took roots from the Fifth Amendment.

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Guarantees of due process

Due Process Clause protects the U.S. citizens against unjust intrusion of the government into their life, freedom, and possession. The Fifth Amendment regards only the field of federal authorities’ power. The U.S. courts admit two sides of due process such as procedural due process and substantive due process. Procedural due process targets to guarantee basic justice providing a party the right to be heard. Such type of due process guarantees that the both parties get entire official information during their judicial proceeding. Moreover, it controls the adjudicating court possesses the proper power to pass a verdict. Nevertheless, substantive due process represents the second aspect of due process being advanced in the twentieth century.

Guarantees of just compensation

Federal government enjoys the constitutional right to expropriate any part of private property for public needs. To protect individuals, the Fifth Amendment includes Fair Compensation Clause. The legislation obliges the U.S. government to compensate the taken property considering its market value. Nevertheless, the authorities are not obliged to make payment of the owner’s attorney.

A Personal Viewpont on the Consequences of the Implementation of the Fifth Amendment

Analyzing all the above-mentioned information, certain conclusions can be made.  On the one hand, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution suggests numerous indisputable advantages. Five provisions of the legislation protect individuals against potential abuse of government power. The implementation of grand juries, protection against double jeopardy, ban on demanded self-incrimination, just formal examination of evidence in a court of law, and entitlement to fair recompense guarantee respect for human. On the other hand, all the clauses of the Fifth Amendment, and the right against self-incrimination, in particular, may severely complicate the legal process making certain obstacles to just investigation and persecution of criminals. Nevertheless, the law enforcement has to search evidence in a legal way instead of severe interrogation of a suspect. In fact, the USA is the state appreciating justice, human rights, and freedom as its core values. Therefore, the above-mentioned negative consequences are justified in protecting individuals from unfair treatment.

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A Personal Position on the Incorporation of the Saint Leo Core Value of Integrity

The state of affairs in any society, as well as in any judicial system, largely depends on the education of the rising generation. Educational establishments, their values and aspirations play a significant role in the formation of human thought. In fact, core values of Saint Leo University overlap with the key goals of this country and develop them. To illustrate, the value of integrity states that“The commitment of Saint Leo University to excellence demands that its members live its mission and deliver on its promise. The faculty, staff, and students pledge to be honest, just, and consistent in word and deed”. Therefore, this university makes a considerable contribution to the legal and spiritual development and prosperity of the American nation.


To sum up, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the Bill of Rights. The legislation establishes fundamental constitutional boundaries of police procedure in the United States. Introduced in 1789 by the fourth U.S. President James Madison, the Fifth Amendment was ratified in 1791. The legislation has rather complicated timeline because of interpretations of various legal cases by the Supreme Court. In fact, it clarified numerous details. First, the capture of property, ignoring full hearing, does not break just process. Second,the government can seize private property. Third, accusation in both federal and state is not considered to be double jeopardy. Fourth, a hearing must be provided before an accused individual’s deportation. Fifth, courts may implement the right protecting against self-incrimination in civil cases. Sixth, curfew regulations do not break fair process rights. Seventh, organizations do not enjoy the right against self-incrimination. Eighth, a suspected individual retains the right to remain silent. Ninth, state trials implement double jeopardy. Tenth, prior notice and a hearing are obligitary before the capture of a criminal’s property. A capital sentence pronounced after retrial is not considered to be double jeopardy. On the one hand, implemantation of the Fifth Amendmant clauses may complicate the legal processing. On the other hand, the law enforcement are supposed to search evidence in a legal way instead of severe interrogation of a suspect. Therefore, negative consequences are justified in protecting individuals from unfair treatment.

In the contemporary society, the ideas of justice, formation of human thought, and spirituality depend on the educational establishments and their values and aspirations. In fact, core values of Saint Leo University overlap with the key goals of this country and develop them making a considerable contribution to the legal and spiritual development and prosperity of the American nation.