Know Your Rights – Part 5

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This week we will be talking about the Fifth Amendment. Many of you may not know what the fifth amendment is off the top of your head, but anyone who has ever watched television knows what it is. Do you recall the phrase, “pleading the fifth?” Pleading the fifth means you are invoking your constitutional fifth amendment right to not answer questions that may incriminate you. It is the right officers refer to when they say, “you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used in a court of law.” And that is exactly why you must exercise this right – because anything you say can be used against you.

The full amendment reads; “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.”

This covers not only your right to remain silent, but also the promise that you cannot be put through successive prosecutions and trials for the same crime – meaning that the first acquittal is final. This is also where you find the promise of due process. Finally, it talks about just compensation. Just compensation means that if the government were to take your private property for public use, that they would have to pay the private holder fair market value at the time of the taking.

The Fifth Amendment and the Just Compensation Clause is what proponents of Eminent Domain cite to justify their actions. I am not going to tell you what side of the fence to stand on in that debate, but now would be a good time to do your research and decide for yourself.

Learn your rights. Know your rights. Exercise your rights. Demand your rights. Keep your Rights. Be free.