*DISCLAIMER* I am not a student of law. This is just a basic overlook of the Amendments and can not be taken as legal advice. Also, most of these observations are my own, and I’m sure some law professor will go “BUT THAT’S NOT RIGHT”. I’m always open to being educated about things. *END DISCLAIMER*
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. (Source)
This is another Amendment loved by crime procedurals. This Amendment has several parts to it.
- No Person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury*The asterisk is there due to the “except in” conditions. This part basically says that the government can’t charge a person with a crime without a grand jury overseeing it. This is two fold. This means that you have the right to a trial by jury when you are accused of a crime and can not be sentenced till you have one. Doesn’t really cover minor transgressions, like speeding tickets and such. Those you get a hearing with a Judge if it goes on too long. I’m not a law expert but I’m not entirely sure how low down the line “infamous” covers.
This also is why when you get the crimes that involve the DA, there is often a grand jury that reviews the evidence and decides if there is enough to go forward with a trial (with yet another jury). (Example, the Grand Jury investigation into the death of Michael Brown.)
This line also covers that Military justice will have its own set of guidelines and rules (although they do for the most part have the same ones.)
- nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb
This line kind of confused me because I don’t know why your limb would be in danger, but this is basically the Double Jeopardy Clause. If you are tried and decided not guilty, they can’t later on try you for the same crime. That doesn’t mean they can’t charge you for a different crime.
- nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself
This means you don’t have to take the stand in your own defense. It doesn’t mean you can’t, just that you don’t *Have* to.
- nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law
Basically, they can’t take away your life, your freedom or your possessions without going through legal processes. I’m sure this one is debatable on what it means to deprive one of liberty or property. This is also, I think, where the laws about how long you can hold a suspect without an actual charge comes from.
- nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation
I don’t really think this one needs explained. The government can’t just come and take your things without either a legal warrant, or without giving you compensation for the use.
I find it interesting that there is so many clauses in this one. There are five different elements, all relating to a person’s rights when it comes to criminal trials, and the government’s ability to enact justice.
I suggust clicking on the link for the source of the text. It has some interesting essays on all the amendments and the clauses therein.
3 thoughts on “The Amendments: Five”