The Fifth Amendment and Self-Incrimination

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The fifth 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, 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”. Would the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination prohibit the government from any of the following: requiring all participants in a lineup to speak certain words; requiring a person to produce income tax records; threatening a person with a reduction in pay in his government job if he does not make incriminating testimonial admissions about a matter not related to his job? A details analysis of the Fifth Amendment and self-incrimination will help us to determine the answer to this question.

According to Law.com dictionary, self-incrimination exist when a defendant gives statements or producing evidence which tends to prove that he/she is guilty of a crime. The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is clear on that issue that no one should have to compel in any criminal case to be a witness against her/himself. Base on that definition, a defendant has the right to refuse to testify in court on the basis that the testimony may be self-incriminating. The Miranda right reinforces that right to remain silent otherwise anything one says might be used against him/her in court. Base on the information presented in chapter one of the textbook p.29-30, the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination would not prohibit the government from requiring all participants in a lineup to speak certain words, “it is not a testimonial. It would...
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