Understanding Amendment V to the Constitution

This amendment appears to have several different requirements which we have as individuals regarding our judicial system. While there are a number of distinct requirements and conditions which must be addressed in our judicial system the main thrust appears to involve double jeopardy and the right not to be a witness against ourselves especially in a criminal trial. The details of this amendment address several conditions which are beneficial to individuals or organizations. The first involves double jeopardy. Individuals go on trial and if acquitted they cannot be placed on trial again for the exact same crime. This is an important right we have under the Constitution. Individuals should never be subjected to or on trial for an offense more than once and this amendment prevents this from taking place.

Double jeopardy places a burden on prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual or organization is guilty of a crime which has been brought in our judicial system. In this aspect prosecutors must prove guilt by independent evidence and not by extorting a confession from the suspect. Voluntary confessions are not precluded from being used in a trial in which a suspect must be explained his rights upon arrest. Reading an individual his rights or the lack thereof can impact actions by the court if this action does not take place. In terms of capital or otherwise infamous crimes an individual cannot be placed on trial except through an indictment of a Grand Jury. There are exceptions such as in time of War or public danger. The details of this amendment are provided below:


“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 offence 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.”


Another aspect of this amendment involves the right involving depriving an individual of life, liberty or property without due process of law. It also identifies that property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation. This aspect involves the public domain concept which is used in many cases and also has been fought in court by those involved in the action of taking their property. Additionally laws have also been passed involving the process of public domain with specifics to the process.

Taking property from individuals for public use must be based on sound facts in that property being taken must meet the need of the public for which there is no other option than to take the property. This amendment also identifies the need for just compensation. This involves the need to establish a fair value for the property. How this is determined depends on the local, state and sometimes federal government dependent on the property involved. Public domain requirements/actions as it is identified in this amendment involve many aspects when such action is taken by a government organization. The requirements of this amendment are clear and government organizations at any level must ensure the process addressing these requirements do not violate the rights contain within it.


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2 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Thanks for the summary and explanation of the fifth amendment. It seems to me that the government has been encroaching on quite a bit of it. Hate crime laws seem to me to allow double jeopardy by trying the sme crime under a different jurisdiction. The right of taking property under public domain has bee vastly abused on different levels.


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 3 years ago Author

Thanks for stopping by and providing your input to my hub. It is much appreciated

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