The 5th US Amendment

By: Daniel Kolen

The Amendment

"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 offense 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."

What does it all mean?

  • to protect people from being put on trial unless a grand jury decides there is enough evidence
  • allows a military member to be put on trial without a grand jury deciding it is necessary if they committed a crime during a national emergency or war
  • someone cannot be charged for the same crime twice
  • the government cannot make one testify against themselves
  • the government cannot take away a person's life liberty or property without following the steps that give the person a fair chance, also known as due process
  • the government cannot take away a person's property for public use without paying for it

Oj Simpson Court Case

A construction worker found a knife buried in the ground of OJ Simpson's former property in Brentwood, California. The worker asked a former LAPD member George Maycott if heshould turn it in. Maycott reported the knife, but according to the 5th Amendment, there was nothing the police could do because he had already put on trial and found not guilty.

Fun Facts

  • the 5th Amendment was introduced into the Constitution by James Madison
  • the ideas in the Fifth Amendment can be traced back to Magna Carta, which was issued in 1215
  • a defendant cannot be punished for using his right to silence in a criminal trial, but there are consequences in a civil trial
  • the 5th Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights