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Where "The Right to Remain Silent" Comes From

Updated on May 30, 2012

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The Origins

The first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. In the USA, these rights are the core rights of every person living within the USA, citizen or not. The foundation for the "Right to Remain Silent" is found here.

The 5th Amendment

The right to remain silent is in regards to the constitutional right a person has not to self incriminate his or herself as stated in the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution. It reads "nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." This amendment also has to do with a few other subjects like Due Process and Double Jeopardy.

Fun Fact

The 5th Amendment was popularized in the term, "I plead the 5th," when Bill Clinton came before congress during his impeachment trial in 1998 for lying in front of a court of law.

Miranda Rights

The Miranda Rights or Warning was required by a ruling of the US Supreme Court in the case of Berghuis v. Thompkins because of an individual who was not aware of this right against self incrimination. To protect the rights of the individual and to ensure the police are not breaking the law, officers of the law now commonly say, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law," or something to that extent. What is interesting is that recently there were some cases were persons who had been arrested before for criminal actions claimed they were not read their rights, but the court ruled that since they were already aware of those rights, it was not necessary to re-inform them. Still, most law enforcement try to state this right just in case.


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    • ibbarkingmad profile image

      Brian 6 years ago from Utah

      I just found a quote from a great American that I think everyone could benefit from.

      "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack."

      - General George Patton Jr.

      My point in sharing this is that we need to have a attitude of freedom even as we fight tyranny or we will become the slaves of our cynicism.

    • ibbarkingmad profile image

      Brian 6 years ago from Utah

      Depends on the state you live in. Utah no longer fines for possession of fireworks. We also have an open carry law (no permit required) and no waiting period on buying guns. I agree with you The Scary Truth. You don't have to prove anything to me. My point still stands. We must educate the populace or any efforts to reverse the damage done by over zealous judges, presidents and bureaucrats will be for not. Questioning government is a duty of every citizen and should not be limited to questioning the person in power who you did not vote for. Government is force. Anyone who says otherwise is just another sheep being lead to the slaughter.

    • The Scary Truth profile image

      The Scary Truth 6 years ago

      Enjoy your 4th of july next year celebrate your freedom, by paying your fine for having fireworks your not aloud to have

    • ibbarkingmad profile image

      Brian 6 years ago from Utah

      @The Scary Truth, I agree. The Patriot Act (the lie is in the name) and excessive executive power has done little good to the rights of citizens. Still and all, the understanding of the ideals that the Constitution established is necessary if we the citizens of these United States are to win back our rights. Ignorance of the Constitution serves only those who would take our rights in the name of "protecting us."

    • The Scary Truth profile image

      The Scary Truth 6 years ago

      The only guarantee of the Bill of Rights which continues to have any force and effect is the one prohibiting quartering troops on citizens in time of peace. All the rest have been disposed of by judicial interpretation and legislative whittling. If you beleive you have any other rights in america you are dead wrong. Just try and excercise those "rights" and see what happens.

    • Nurfninja profile image

      Nurfninja 6 years ago from Earth

      That was awesome. Thanks for the interesting bit of history and this succint hub.