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Rhode Island ACLU Responds to Criticism of Caleb Chafee’s Use of the Fifth Amendment

Posted: June 26, 2012|

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The ACLU released this brief statement yesterday in response to Barrington Police Chief John LaCross, criticizing Caleb Chafee’s decision to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights when interviewed by police about a party he attended where alcohol was allegedly served:

“The Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination, which grew out of the experience of the English star chamber, is central to our country’s system of criminal justice. It protects the innocent as well as the guilty from coercive police tactics, and ensures that the burden is on the state to prove the commission of a crime. Chief LaCross’s concern about the message sent to teens by Caleb Chafee’s exercise of this privilege is misplaced. With the celebration of this country’s independence only a week away, we are much more concerned about the message that is sent when a chief law enforcement officer makes light of a person’s legitimate exercise of this basic constitutional right.”

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