Double Jeopardy: The Fifth Amendment

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If you ask someone what they think about the Fifth Amendment, most people will likely point out that it provides citizens a right against self-incrimination. However, besides the well-known “plead the Fifth” clause, the Fifth Amendment provides a number of other important privileges and protections including the right to a grand jury for capital offences, the right to due process, the right to fair compensation when the government takes your property and a prohibition against being prosecuted or punished twice for the same crime. The Fifth Amendment was one of the original ten amendments included in the Bill of Rights that was passed in 1791. Initially, the Constitution did not have a Bill of Rights, however, the deep distrust that many of the Founding Fathers had of an oppressive central government led to discussion and debate among them during the first Continental Congress. The main topic discussion was on finding the best way to ensure that the individual rights of the citizens were protected. These debates eventually led to drafting of the ten…show more content…
To be sure, in the 1959 case, Bartkus v. Illinois, Justice Black commenting on the principle underlying double jeopardy wrote that it “is one of the oldest ideas in western civilization” (Bartkus v. Illinois, 1959). Whatever, its origins, the principle of double jeopardy made its way into English legal practice around 1201 and eventually becoming “a universal maxim of the English common law” (Rudstein, 2005). Similar to the development of the grand jury practice, the principle of double jeopardy was introduced into the nascent American common law by English colonialist arriving in the American colonies. While the original Articles of Confederation did not provide a guarantee against double jeopardy, it was later added as part of the Fifth Amendment with the ratification of the Bill of Rights in
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