Briefcase

Briefcase: The Fifth Amendment

Guest: Dean Leonard Baynes

The Bill of Rights has guaranteed our freedoms and rights for over 200 years. In this regular series, Dean Leonard Baynes with the University of Houston Law Center looks at how they relate to society today.

“In movies, and on television, dramatic courtroom scenes often include a character refusing to testify against himself by ‘pleading the fifth. What many don’t realize is that the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution creates several rights for citizens.”

“In addition to its protections against self-incrimination, the Fifth Amendment

  • Guarantees grand jury proceedings to those accused of serious crimes.
  • Protects against double jeopardy, preventing a person tried for a crime from being tried, again, following a valid acquittal.
  • Ensures the right of due process, and fairness in government decision making, and
  • Requires fair compensation be paid when the government takes property for a public purpose.”

“In real life, the Fifth Amendment is even more expansive than its portrayal on film. It provides Americans with significant constitutional rights in both criminal and civil matters.”

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