Thursday, March 30, 2006


Fifth Amendment

Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution:

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.

Is the use of DNA in breach of the Fifth Amendment? Is using DNA material self-incriminating? What rights does someone have to deny the use of DNA material and fingerprints? Currently, when you are taken into custody, they take your fingerprints, whether you are charged with a crime or not -- you have no choice to deny the use of incriminating evidence. So you are forced to implicate yourself on any past actions or crimes.

In cases where hidden assets and funds (of a person) could be used to incriminate themselves, the Fifth Amendment has been used. So why not the same rights for DNA and fingerprints?

Yes it is a tool for law enforcement, but it is also an encroachment on the rights of all individuals and their person and property.

The CSG blog is looking at another piece of the Fifth Amendment.

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