The Fifth Amendment of US Constitution provides a significant protection for accused persons. In particular, the Fifth Amendment provides guarantees for due process, protection against double jeopardy and against the self-incrimination. My paper focuses on the guarantee against the self-incrimination. Thus, the Fifth Amendment stipulates that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”. At the same time, it is not specified in this provision whether this protection is available for corporations. Indeed, the Fifth Amendment only refers to the term “person”. This term may signify a natural person, as well as a legal entity which in general is considered to be a legal person. The US Supreme court clarified the self-incrimination provisions as applied to corporate matters in a landmark case Braswell v. United States. The presented paper offers the analysis of the aforementioned case.
Braswell v. United States
Randy Braswell operated his business involving sale and purchase of equipment, land, timber, and oil and gas interests in a form of a sole proprietorship from 1965 to 1980. However, in 1980 Mr. Braswell established a Mississippi corporation, Worldwide Machinery Sales, Inc., and started operating his business through that entity. One year later, Mr. Braswell incorporated a second Mississippi Corporation, Worldwide Purchasing, Inc. The second corporation was funded 100 per cent interest held by Mr. Braswell in the Worldwide Machinery Sales, Inc. Randy Braswell was the sole shareholder of the Worldwide Purchasing, Inc. In 1986 a federal grand jury issued a subpoena, addressed to Mr. Braswell as the president of the Worldwide Purchasing, Inc., requiring him to produce the books and records of the two corporations. Mr. Braswell moved to challenge the legality of subpoena, pointing out that the act of producing the books and records would incriminate him in the violation of the
Cited: US Constitution (5th Amendment) Braswell v. United States, 487 U.S. 99 (1988). Retrieved from http://supreme.justia.com/us/487/99/case.html In re Grand Jury Proceedings ,814 F.2d 190 (1987). Retrieved from Westlaw.com Price, S. "BRASWELL v. UNITED STATES: AN EXAMINATION OF A CUSTODIAN 'S FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO AVOID PERSONAL PRODUCTION OF CORPORATE RECORDS." Villanova Law Review. 34. (1989): 353-395. Print.