The 5th Amendment is one of the most important amendments that have been made to the United States constitution. The 5th Amendment was enacted due to the increasing needs to protect civilians from the excessive power of the government. It is a part of the bills of rights that is meant to protect people from abuse of executive authority. Under this amendment, individuals are given extensive rights in the legal procedures. The Fifth Amendment is an important amendment that shields individuals from abuse of government authorities.
What is 5th Amendment?
The Fifth Amendment is part of various amendments that have been made to the United States constitution since the constitution was drafted and enacted. It is a part of the Bill of Rights that gives individuals protection from abuse of executive authority in the legal procedures. The legal rights that are granted to individuals are derived from the English Common Law that can be traced back to the Magna Cart of 1213. The following is the statement for the 5th Amendment:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless one 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” (Amar & Lettow, 1995, p. 857).
The language used in the 5th amendments grants individual rights in different ways. From the source of the terms used, it has clear definition on principles that should be upheld in the legal procedure. The 5th Amendment was instituted in the United States Constitution and it aimed at protecting individuals against abuse by the government authority during legal procedure. This means that most of the terms used in the amendment are borrowed from other laws that had such provisions before United States enacted this Amendment. The guarantee in this Amendment mainly stems from English common law and it can be traced to 1215 Magna Carta from terms like “grand juries” and “due process”. The provision of the Amendment 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” (Amar & Lettow, 1995, p. 857). This provision provides for right to be presumed innocent until search a time when the suspect has been convicted by an impartial Grand Jury. This is an important provision that is upheld in criminal and civil laws. One of the most important provisions under any criminal law is that individuals are presumed to be innocent unless proven guilty by an impartial court of law. It further states that “…, 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” (Amar & Lettow, 1995, p. 857). This provision is an important part of Bill of Rights that grants individuals right to own property, right to life, and light to liberty.
There are some provisions that limit these rights as provided in “.., 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” (Amar & Lettow, 1995, p. 857). This means that the right is limited in cases of military personnel or militia and also during the tie of war or instance of public danger. Any rights must be limited in some way and these rights have been limited in time of war. This implies that the rights do not apply to individuals during war for land and naval forces for militia.
One of the historical cases in which the 5th Amendment has been applied was in the case of Miranda v. Arizona (1966) where it was ruled that the police violated 5th Amendment. In this case the police did not observe the rights of the individual as provided in the 5th Amendment. The police failed to inform the accused of his rights leading to self-incrimination.
There are a number of changes that may occur in this amendment in the future. There may be extension of the provision of individual rights as provided in this amendment as criminal justice continues to develop. For example, there may be development of new guidelines on self-incrimination after Miranda warnings especially in regard to young people.