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Freebase Commons Common /common

  • The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and protects against unfair treatment in legal processes. The Amendment requires that felonies be tried only upon indictment by a grand jury. The grand jury is a pre-constitutional common law institution, and a constitutional fixture in its own right exclusively embracing common law. The process applies to the states to the extent that the states have incorporated grand juries and/or common law. Most states have an alternative civil process. "Although state systems of criminal procedure differ greatly among themselves, the grand jury is similarly guaranteed by many state constitutions and plays an important role in fair and effective law enforcement in the overwhelming [p688] majority of the States." Branzburg v. Hayes 1972. The Amendment also provides several trial protections, including the right against self-incrimination as well as the right to be tried only once in federal court for the same offense. The Amendment also has a Due Process Clause as well as an implied equal protection requirement.

Freebase Commons Law /law

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