• Exploring American History

5th Amendment provides people due process of the law

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases 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 offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


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The wording of this amendment provides the basic constitutional limits police must observe. Derived from the Magna Carta, the Juries Clause and Due Process Clause had their start in 1215. The 5th Amendment provides these five very distinct constitutional rights:

1) Right to indictment by the grand jury prior to criminal charges of any type due to criminal behavior.

2) Exclusion from double jeopardy,

3) Protection against obligatory self-incrimination,

4) All criminal defendants are guaranteed a fair trial,

5) Guarantee one’s private property cannot be seized by the government unless it makes available compensation for the property at current market value.


Originally the Fifth Amendment applied only to federal courts, the Supreme Court, through the Due Process Clause housed in the Fourteenth Amendment, integrated the Fifth Amendment into the states at a fractional level. Though the right to indictment by the Grand Jury has not been included, the rights against self-incrimination, double jeopardy, and protection against seizure of private property without due compensation have all been integrated to the states.

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