America had won independence from the British monarchy and the parliament which had been accused of booing undemocratic and tyrannical . The Framers of the Federal Constitution has a strong mistrust of large centralized governments . The Framers drafted the Bill of Rights consisting of the constitutions First 10 Amendments, to serve as a bulwark delineating a range of individual freedoms and thus protecting them from governmental abuse. Laws enacted, implemented, or enforced by governmental officials that infringe on these freedoms are typically invalidated as unconstitutional by the judiciary.
The Fifth Amendment by the US government enumerates 5 distinct individual freedoms – 1) The right to be indicted by an impartial Grand Jury before being tried for a Federal criminal offence. 2) The right to be free from multiple prosecutions or multiple punishments for a single criminal offence 3) The Right to have individual freedoms protected by due process of law. 4) The right to be free from government compelled self-incrimination. 5) The Right to receive just compensation when the government takes the government takes private property for public use. Hence The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution reads like:
No person should be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime , unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury , except in case 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 offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal ease to be a witness against himself nor be deprived of life , liberty or property with out due process of law ;nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation .
The Fifth Amendment was formulated to enhance the life of every American and make the country truly democratic but how much it has actually helped in enhancing an individual’s freedoms and rights is yet to be put to test. From many incidents of the past, many terms mentioned in the Fifth Amendment are being debated as to whether it is appropriate or not. From an article by Jason Bellows –“The Fifth Amendment outdated?
”There is a debate on its being out of use due to reasons like our newfangled means of diving evidence because of which we acquit a man of a crime and then discover profound new evidence; hence the state would try the person again to convict him. There is a case in Britain testing this very notion . Billy Dunlop had faced two Juries as the Crown Prosecution service has tried to convict him for murdering a pizza delivery girl in 1989. Neither jury could reach a verdict and he was acquitted in 1991 . Now the Crown prosecution service claims to have uncovered “New and Compelling evidence” and wants another go at Billy in the court of appeals.