Criminal Law: Fifth Amendment

The question of self-incrimination was a controversial idea and remained questionable throughout the history of criminal law. The fifth amendment of the law protected in-custody interrogation of a victim without the consent of the council. The current constitution provides that no person should be compelled to be a witness against himself. It states that “nobody shall be compelled to give oral testimony against himself in a criminal proceeding underway in which he is defendant”.

American Journal of Legal History provides that the provision against self-incrimination provided a narrower scope of privileges than the common law. This generally led to the extension of the Fifth Amendment into encompassing the rule against forced confessions. Regarding Hopt v. Utah, 110 U.S 574, the court had upheld the confession made by police officers. The court ruled considering the information that the officers had given. A similar case, Wilson v. the United States 162 U.S 613. The jury considered custodial interrogations that had been prepared by the commissioner where the defendant answered questions. The commissioner had failed to advise the defendant on his rights. The answers to the set questions were therefore held admissible against his involuntariness claims. “The fact that a defendant is in custody and manacled does not necessarily render his statement involuntary, nor is that necessarily the effect of popular excitement shortly preceding a trial” (Gribben, 2012).

The process of determining the constitutional decision is fundamental and should be transparent in the course of the administration of justice. The court has a core role of legitimacy in playing its role. The reasoning of the court should therefore withstand external and internal analysis, should be fair to the defendant and the prosecutor, and should be an ideal representation of the constitution. Arguments have forwarded that such process cannot be left barely in the hands of metaphysics, syllogism, or even to some notions of natural justice which are prone to prejudices. In contrast, the courts should consider all liable information to ensure that the judgment passed is fair and transparent. This means that the court should not only base their arguments on speculations but should as well formulate policies that will oversee the process of jurisdiction. These arguments provided the basis on which the general rule was set under the Fifth Amendment provisions. Generally, the rule prohibits self-incrimination as a way of courts way of finding information regarding a certain case. In this regard, the courts hold that “because of the compulsion inherent in custodial surroundings, no statement obtained from a defendant in custody can truly be the product of his free choice.” (Kermit, 2005).

It has been argued that in-custody interrogation directs or rather compels answers from the defendant. This, therefore, delimits the inherent will of the defendant, and the probability of getting the correct information from such a process is minimal. As per se, the whole process is not voluntary. The defendant may have wanted to remain silent but in the interrogation, the involuntariness is delimited. In other words, any confessions from in-custodial interrogations are forced. This of course is unfair to the defendant. In a nutshell, the development of policies has had a positive influence on the general jurisdiction process. The policy has ensured that the compelling of the defendant to extract information or testimony in a court process does not occur. If the defendant gives information through free will, in discriminated admissions and confessions are however not prohibited in a court process.

The court’s objective is to protect against the inviolability of human personality other than extorting the truth. The policing has ensured in one way or another the court’s decision is influenced by the inviability of the confessions. The policing has therefore ensured that the defendant is not interrogated without the presence f counsel. In the same regard, lawyers advise the accused to remain silent or what they’ll say may be used against them in a law court. However, there remains significant sustainability of evidence by the accused through self-made confessions. For instance, such confessions may disclose some concealed evidence which helps the court to pass suitable judgments. Such confessions, therefore, help to certitude by which the accused will be declared guilty. As such, the whole process of confessions however it can be despised has a significant role to play when judgment is passed.

The fifth Amendment has measurably delimited the ability of custom and criminal law to conduct its duties. The reduction of confessions and protection against interrogations and supplication of guilty has crippled in a great way the justice system. It is difficult to prove a case by the police where the defendant pleads not guilty. The courts, therefore, have not once or twice sent back to the streets criminals because the police failed to produce firm evidence to pin down the criminal. It, therefore, remains eminent that the new rule has in a great way affected positively and negatively the administration of justice and protection against humanity.

Reference List

Gribben Mark. (2012). Miranda Vs Arizona: The Crime That Changed American Justice. Web.

Kermit L. Hall. (2005). Miranda v. Arizona. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. Web.

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