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50 votes
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How does the mandate to report income from illegal activities in the US jibe with the Fifth Amendment?

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 ...
Dave D's user avatar
  • 5,595
37 votes
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What's stopping someone from saying "I don't remember"?

You can't prove a negative, so they can't be convicted of perjury for lying about whether they remember; Yes, they can. The government can convict the witness of perjury by proving that they did ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
34 votes
Accepted

USA: Can a witness take the 5th to avoid perjury?

Your ability to assert your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is not limited to cases where you are on trial or have been accused of a crime. Your ability to assert that right is also ...
user6726's user avatar
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29 votes
Accepted

Can a foreigner invoke the fifth amendment?

Short Answer Bob is a non-US citizen and is visiting the USA on a tourist visa. . . . Can Bob invoke the 5th amendment to avoid self-incrimination? Yes. The 5th Amendment is a right applicable to ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
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28 votes

Why is knowledge inside one's head considered privileged information but knowledge written on a piece of paper is not?

The Fifth Amendment protection relates to a repugnant act, that of forcing a person to testify against themselves, and it is not about ways of looking at "information". The relevant (legally-...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
27 votes

Why is knowledge inside one's head considered privileged information but knowledge written on a piece of paper is not?

The relevant language of the Fifth Amendment is: No person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. This Fifth Amendment privilege "bars the State only from ...
Jen's user avatar
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26 votes
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Can a defendant remain silent (invoke 5th amendment) during cross examination?

No, a defendant may not remain silent on cross-examination. Witnesses who voluntarily testify in their own defense are subject to cross-examination on that testimony. In Fitzpatrick v. United States, ...
bdb484's user avatar
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25 votes
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What kinds of sanctions would be applied if you wrongly invoked the Fifth Amendment?

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 ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
25 votes

Can evidence a person gives to aid an investigation then be used to prosecute that person for an unrelated crime?

There are essentially no such limits on the use of such evidence. The police are free to use evidence from one case in whatever other cases it may be helpful, and criminals have no right to turn over ...
bdb484's user avatar
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24 votes
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Can an attorney plead the 5th if attorney-client privilege is pierced?

Can an attorney plead the 5th if attorney-client privilege is pierced? Yes. But if the prosecutor offers the attorney "use immunity" for the testimony (i.e. a binding promise that the ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 218k
22 votes

Is the saying that "cops can use anything you say against you" overstated or understated?

It is somewhat understated, because your silence can also be used against you. In Salinas v. Texas, defendant Salinas was "just talking" to police, not in custody, and his silence (as ...
user6726's user avatar
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17 votes
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Arizona law requires you to admit to carrying a firearm. Would that be admissible evidence?

The 5th amendment protects you from self-incrimination. If by possessing a firearm you are in violation of the law you cannot be compelled by law to reveal this information. If the police discover you ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 605
16 votes
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Alternative systems without the Right to Remain Silent

Overview The "right to remain silent " is a feature of US law, inherited, like much of the basic structure of US law, from the British law of the late 1700s. The right is also retained in ...
David Siegel's user avatar
15 votes
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Alternatives to pleading the 5th that also offers protection

united-states It is not required for a person to formally assert a fifth- or a first-amendment right when questioned by the police. One can simply be silent, refuse to answer any questions, without ...
David Siegel's user avatar
15 votes

Is the saying that "cops can use anything you say against you" overstated or understated?

The Miranda Warning doesn't go far enough. It clearly states that you have the right to remain silent, and anything you do say can be used against you. The statement should include the fact that you ...
lawful-n00b's user avatar
  • 1,407
14 votes

USA: Can a witness take the 5th to avoid perjury?

This really depends if Alice's questions are during Direct Examination or Cross Examination. If direct, Alice called Bob to the stand and Bob is testifying to his account of the events in support of ...
hszmv's user avatar
  • 23k
14 votes

Can evidence a person gives to aid an investigation then be used to prosecute that person for an unrelated crime?

In general, there is no right under the US Constitution not to have evidence that has been voluntarily provided for another purpose used for further criminal investigation. The premise of the question ...
David Siegel's user avatar
13 votes

What kinds of sanctions would be applied if you wrongly invoked the Fifth Amendment?

[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 ...
Just a guy's user avatar
  • 8,418
12 votes
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Can I surprise the prosecution with an alibi defense at trial?

No Federal law and most states have an notice of alibi rule that requires a defendant to identify witnesses who will testify as to their alibi and where the defendant claims to have been. The validity ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
10 votes
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Why hasn't civil asset forfeiture been ruled unconstitutional?

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 ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
10 votes

How does the mandate to report income from illegal activities in the US jibe with the Fifth Amendment?

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 ...
hszmv's user avatar
  • 23k
10 votes

Is the saying that "cops can use anything you say against you" overstated or understated?

This depends on the relations between the police and community in your area. Every interaction between the police and the public is, first and foremost, a social interaction between individuals. Only ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 17.8k
10 votes

What's stopping someone from saying "I don't remember"?

Anything you say in a court of law can be used against you in a court of law, unless the testimony is given under a grant of immunity. You would need to provide a transcript of the hypothetical ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
10 votes
Accepted

Why is knowledge inside one's head considered privileged information but knowledge written on a piece of paper is not?

The privilege against self-incrimination in the US 5th amendment isn't a right to not testify if you don't feel like it. It doesn't say "a person may not be compelled to testify" it says &...
Ben's user avatar
  • 346
9 votes
Accepted

Suppose an effective truth serum existed. Could defendants in the following situations have their confessions ruled inadmissable?

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"...
bdb484's user avatar
  • 60.2k
9 votes

Alternatives to pleading the 5th that also offers protection

The speaker in the video, James Duane, published a follow-up book, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent. To summarize it: Don’t talk to police. Don’t plead the fifth. Plead the sixth. These are ...
Roman Odaisky's user avatar
9 votes

Can evidence a person gives to aid an investigation then be used to prosecute that person for an unrelated crime?

Yes. A rather well known example: Mark Whitacre was an executive at ADM (Archer Daniels Midland). He turns into a whistle blower about a price fixing scheme around lycine (a livestock feed additive) ...
Flydog57's user avatar
  • 429
9 votes
Accepted

Has New Jersey v. Andrews ever been successfully challenged?

The question is ill framed, but I'll try to reframe it and answer it. New Jersey v. Andrews is a decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court (its highest appellate court), which held that you do not have ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 218k
8 votes

Can the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination be invoked in a civil deposition?

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 ...
Burned's user avatar
  • 676
8 votes

Is a judge or jury "to assume or presume" testimony not given after invoking the fifth amendment would have been negative in a civil trial?

Is a judge or jury "to assume or presume" testimony not given after invoking the fifth amendment would have been negative in a civil trial? The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 218k

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