General Question

lapilofu's avatar

What is the justification for the self-incrimination clause of the fifth amendment?

Asked by lapilofu (4325points) October 29th, 2008

If a person is guilty of something, then isn’t the purpose of the legal process to suss that out? Why do we then allow people to refuse testimony specifically so they don’t have to say that they’re guilty?

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6 Answers

tonedef's avatar

Besides clogging the CJS with a deluge of perjury cases, this speaks to the idea that the accused has to prove exactly nothing. He should be allowed to sit back and monitor the proceedings as the state attempts to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he committed a crime. It is the state’s burden to bear, and I suppose our founders thought it quite unreasonable that a defendant be forced to participate in his own civil undoing.

He should not be compelled to testify, as in the eyes of the law, he has not necessarily done anything wrong yet. That label is only applied after the verdict is read.

EmpressPixie's avatar

You can read up on it here.

robmandu's avatar

Yah, like EmpressPixie points to

“Historically, the legal protection against self-incrimination is directly related to the question of torture for extracting information and confessions.”

psyla's avatar

If the defendant was really guilty, yet pleaded innocent, & then took the stand & had to testify their innocence under oath, they would add another crime to their charges – contempt of court by lying under oath. The prisons are crowded enough already without adding more jailtime to every case where someone is guilty yet tried to lie their way out of it. We would be giving them no choice but to lie on the stand, lies would become common in court, & courtroom scenes would crumble into a mockery.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Because there are way to many cases where innocent people actaully incriminated themselves in a crime they didnt actually commit. NEVER EVER talk to cops.

This video sums it up pretty well (i think someone posted this on fluther recently)

alex8312's avatar

None. If you are a criminal, be a real fella and acknowledge it. Serve your time and get back your life. Self-incriminate? Utter nonsense. Either you did it or you didn’t.

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