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Criminal Law and Constitutional Rights of Defendants

Generally, the double jeopardy clause applies only to criminal cases. It consists of three separate constitutional protections. First, it protects against a second criminal prosecution for the same offense after acquittal. Second, it protects against a subsequent prosecution for the same offense after conviction. Finally, it protects against multiple punishments for the same offense (Hall, 1992). Hall (1992) says that difficulties arise when determining that a new prosecution is for the same offense, an issue presented when the same criminal act or transaction violates two separate statutes. The Court continues to address these issues.

The Fifth Amendment protects the individual from being compelled to be a witness against himself in any criminal case, thus affirming that an accused has the right to remain silent (Hall, 1992). The amendment is often regarded as synonymous with the privilege against self-incrimination. An individual may state under questioning at trial that he or she "takes the Fifth Amendment." This is a way of saying that the person is asserting the constitutionally guaranteed right to avoid testifying against himself or herself.

According to the constitutional text, the privilege applies only in any criminal case, but from the beginning, it has been held to bar compelling any testimony that might lead to a criminal prosecution or might eventually be used in a criminal prosecution of the person required to speak (Hall, 1992). The refusal to speak is not viewed by the Court as a tacit confession of guilt although some critics believe that this is likely to often be the case. There are limits on the privilege which is not applicable after a person has been convicted or if the statute of limitations has run out, the individual has received a pardon for a crime, or been granted immunity from prosecution (Hall, 1992). This privilege has been in existence in the United States for over 200 years and is...

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Criminal Law and Constitutional Rights of Defendants. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:23, August 17, 2017, from
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