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2015 News Releases

“Pleading The Fifth” Is A Fundamental Right

Posted: September 25, 2015|Category: Due Process Category: Fair Administration of Justice

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In light of the release of the depositions in the 38 Studios case, it is important to remember that "pleading the fifth" is a fundamental right that protects us all and supports a fair system of justice. As the U.S. Supreme Court eloquently explained over 50 years ago:

"The privilege against self-incrimination registers an important advance in the development of our liberty - one of the great landmarks in man's struggle to make himself civilized. It reflects many of our fundamental values and most noble aspirations: our unwillingness to subject those suspected of crime to the cruel trilemma of self-accusation, perjury or contempt; our preference for an accusatorial rather than an inquisitorial system of criminal justice; our fear that self-incriminating statements will be elicited by inhumane treatment and abuses; our sense of fair play which dictates a fair state-individual balance by requiring the government to leave the individual alone until good cause is shown for disturbing him and by requiring the government in its contest with the individual to shoulder the entire load; our respect for the inviolability of the human personality and of the right of each individual to a private enclave where he may lead a private life; our distrust of self-deprecatory statements; and our realization that the privilege, while sometimes a shelter to the guilty, is often a protection to the innocent."

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