Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.
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The original 1913 Revenue Act only required the reporting of income from "lawful" sources. In the 1921 Revenue Act the word, "lawful" was removed requiring all income to be reported. [IRS Publication 17] states: Illegal activities. Income from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040, ...


25

In the US, a person is "within their rights" to invoke the Fifth Amendment, i.e. refuse to self-incriminate. However, the government can give a person immunity from prosecution for offenses having to do with the testimony, in which case he can be compelled to testify. A person is not required to guess about whether they could actually be convicted based on ...


16

Nothing below is legal advice. I am not a lawyer. If law enforcement is actually requesting an encryption key, talk to a real lawyer. To answer your first question, the answer is "the government probably can't demand the password, but might be able to demand the data." Some courts have ruled that the Fifth Amendment can prevent courts from forcing someone ...


15

The Fifth Amendment always protects someone from being forced to testify against themselves if it would implicate them in a crime (see, among others, Ohio v. Reiner, 532 U.S. 17). Any person can assert the privilege, regardless of their role in the trial, with the possible exception of the plaintiff (who is the one person who wanted to go to court). Like ...


14

Since you asked, and it's a perfectly legitimate question, here's why it doesn't violate the Fifth Amendment (from Garner v. US): The Fifth Amendment doesn't say "you can't be made to say anything that hurts you." It says "no person...shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." The only time Fifth Amendment protection applies ...


13

[I didn’t see user6726’s excellent answer until after I finished mine. There’s quite a bit overlap — except that he discusses immunity, which I ignore — but I think there’s enough difference that some readers may benefit from seeing both.] TL;DNR: No, you could not “take the 5th” to avoid embarrassment. If you tried and got caught, you’d get in trouble. As ...


9

Current law in the United States on this subject is unsettled. In re Boucher (2009): The United States District Court for the District of Vermont held that if the contents of the encrypted files are generally known to the government, then revealing the encryption key is not self-incrimination, and Fifth Amendment protections do not apply. United States v. ...


9

On your tax forms there is a field for how much of you income for the filing year was gained from illegal sources. It pretty much is a check box and then write the dollar value amount and how much of that do you need to write a check for the government for. If Jimmy Jones robs a bank of $1,000,000 (Dr. Evil pose), he can get out of being investigated for ...


8

If the question asks, "did you do X" where X is or includes a crime that you could be criminally prosecuted for, you can invoke the 5th amendment in refusing to answer that. I have seen that done and seen that objection to the question sustained in court. However, if admitting to X would provide only civil liability, then the 5th would not apply. At ...


7

Your assumption is incorrect -- the Bill of Rights proper does not apply to the states, and pre-14th Amendment only bound the federal government. See Barron v. Baltimore, 32 US 243. States could do whatever they wanted, subject to federal legislation on the matters given to the federal government and subject to their own constitutions. After the Civil War, ...


7

What prevents someone from pleading the Fifth Amendment, even if they don't necessarily have something that would incriminate themselves if they answered? Immunity. Sometimes prosecutors offer immunity to a witness in exchange for testimony against another defendant. In such cases, the witness cannot claim protection under the fifth amendment because the ...


7

Civil forfeiture typically pits the government against property, not the government against an individual, and in the US (also anywhere else), only people have rights: property has no rights. The first relevant instance to reach the Supreme Court was an early case, The Palmyra (25 US 1), where a ship was confiscated because it had been used in privateering ...


5

This is a good question, which I am going to answer from a practical perspective, rather than a theoretical one, which would probably justify a law review article (applications of the takings clause to criminal justice fact patterns is actually one of my pet areas of legal scholarship, but a lot of it calls for dramatic changes in established practice and ...


5

As far as I know, the leading case on the matter is Hale v. Henkel, 201 US 43. There, the court explains While an individual may lawfully refuse to answer incriminating questions unless protected by an immunity statute, a corporation is a creature of the State, and there is a reserved right in the legislature to investigate its contracts and find ...


5

If the owner of the computer has been arrested and is the subject of a criminal investigation, he can not be forced to give the police a password because it is a violation of his rights protected by the 5th amendment. A typical Miranda warning includes the language You have the right to remain silent (when being questioned). Analysis Kirschner and Doe ...


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You're mistaken as to what prosecutorial immunity is and what it means. Prosecutorial immunity is a hybrid of judicial immunity, whereby prosecutors have absolute immunity when acting as an officer of the court in their capacity as an advocate (lawyer) for the state. After probable cause has been established, the "proceeding" phase is said to have begun, and ...


5

An existing law actually prohibits using census data "against" a person, see this recent question. The 5th Amendment ("nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself") is not interpreted to imply an absolute privilege to not answer, it means that your answer cannot be used against you in a criminal case. You can be compelled to ...


5

Miranda rights do not attach until the suspect is subject to custodial interrogation. "Custody" means that the suspect reasonably believes that he is not free to leave the conversation. "Interrogation" means that the officer is engaging in direct questioning or other conduct that would reasonably be expected to elicit a response. A suspect is free to waive ...


5

You are correct that the existence of a lawsuit -- on First Amendment or Fifth Amendment grounds -- is not a strong basis for believing that Acosta will have his pass reinstated. People file losing lawsuits all the time. But that doesn't really tell us anything about the merits of his case, which I discuss below. Temporary restraining order: The standard ...


4

Lawyers may break confidentiality with client permission. You can also break your own confidentiality and talk to the prosecutor yourself. The prosecutor's response is up to the prosecutor; however, they tend to not be super excited about giving immunity to a witness for the defense if they might want to prosecute the witness later (and courts often are fine ...


4

This is currently untested but the U.S. Supreme Court did leave the door open to allow someone to plead the 5th amendment in order to hide their identity. In Hiibel v. Nevada the U.S. Supreme Court held that the petitioner did not have a 5th amendment right to withhold his name from a questioning police officer. The Supreme Court held that Mr. Hiibel could ...


4

Article I, Section 8 of the United States lists the powers of Congress (and a handful a sprinkled elsewhere in the U.S. Constitution and its amendments, such as the power to regulate court jurisdiction in Article III and the enforcement powers of the 13th and 14th Amendments, to give a non-exclusive list). These powers include powers reasonable and ...


4

This is a super complex question and no one really knows the answer yet. Orin Kerr is probably the leading scholar on this question, and he generally argues that forced decryption of one's own device is not a Fifth Amendment violation. As I understand it (and oversimplifying by a lot), one key piece of his position is that requiring you to put in your ...


4

In U.S. v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court ruled that taxpayers must report illegal income. This ruling did not repeal the 5th Amendment. (it couldn't). It also did not authorize IRS to play catch-22 "gotcha" by rigging the game so the only way to report illegal income is to give up your 5th Amendment rights. If anything, it says the exact opposite. IRS ...


4

australia new-south-wales The prosecution must eliminate self-defence beyond reasonable doubt The common law of self-defence has been replaced by statute law in ss418-423 of the Crimes Act 1900. This part of the Judicial Commission of NSW’s Criminal Trial Bench Book spells out the law around it in detail. In particular: In order for self-defence to be ...


3

From the point of view of another jurisdiction; Australia does not have a statutory or constitutional right against self-incrimination, however, such a right is recognised in the common law. Juries are specifically permitted to draw inferences from silence where the defendant is in the position to know material facts that are not otherwise in evidence. For ...


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I haven't found a recent case like this where it constitutes evidence. Military members didn't have an express right to remain silent until somewhere in the 1950s, so one chances are there might be cases prior to that point. The present right is codified in 10 U.S.C. 831, which is Article 31 of the UCMJ. That said, there is certainly a well documented ...


3

In a landmark document-production case, Fisher v. United States, 425 U.S. 391, it was held that The Fifth Amendment does not independently proscribe the compelled production of every sort of incriminating evidence, but applies only when the accused is compelled to make a testimonial communication that is incriminating ... A subpoena served on a ...


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Yes, there are cases where refusing to respond to the question would be legal. The juror could plead the fifth – so long as he hasn't spilled the beans about what he is trying to protect – which provides for the protection from compelled self-incrimination (any incriminating statement that could be used against you in a criminal charge – ...


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