According to FindLaw, the Fifth Amendment protects those on U.S. soil who are accused of a crime from being compelled to testify against themselves. This protection means that defendants cannot be required to testify at their own criminal trial, and it also means that no one accused or suspected of a crime can be compelled to answer questions during police interrogations. Defendants and suspects can waive this right.Continue Reading
When a defendant waives the right against self-incrimination at trial by choosing to take the stand, the defendant must then answer any and all questions, according to FindLaw. FindLaw also notes that courts have a wide latitude in interpreting the Fifth Amendment. The courts interpret the Fifth Amendment as giving a suspect the right to remain silent in police interrogations, but this is not explicitly stated in the constitution. The Fifth Amendment states: "No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." Whether that means in court or interrogation is open to interpretation.
FindLaw explains that the Fifth Amendment is rooted in the Puritans refusal to cooperate with interrogators in 17th century England. Interrogators of that time used torture and coercion. England outlawed compulsory self-incrimination in the 16th century. The Puritans brought the idea of banning forced self-incrimination with them from England to America, resulting in the Fifth Amendment.Learn more about The Constitution
As of December 2014, only 27 constitutional amendments exist, though many different versions of a 28th Amendment have been suggested. At different times, overwhelming majorities in several states have passed their own versions of the 28th Amendment, but none have been ratified.Full Answer >
The 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that neither the nation nor any individual state can deny or change the voting rights of an American citizen, regardless of his race, color or past experiences as a slave. It was designed to give African-American men the right to vote.Full Answer >
According to Cornell University Law School, the 25th Amendment is considered important because it established succession in case the President of the United States dies, resigns, is impeached or is otherwise unable to fulfill his duties. Prior to the 25th Amendment, there were only vague rules that explained what to do if the office needed filling in the middle of a president's term.Full Answer >
The Fourth Amendment is the amendment that protects American citizens from unlawful search and seizure, including in their homes. This amendment also outlines the requirements associated with obtaining warrants and the ability to monitor communications through wiretaps.Full Answer >