Today we came across some information that may literally be a question of life or death. It is regarding the much vilified Fifth Amendment, better known for its Miranda translation, “The right to remain silent.”
We came across this crucial bit of information via the following article published at priceonomics.com: http://priceonomics.com/how-sergey-aleynikov-learned-never-to-talk-to-the/
The jest of the article is that, rather than being a hiding place for criminals, the Fifth Amendment, the right to not incriminate oneself, serves an extremely important function in today’s culture where persons are all too often presumed guilty until proven innocent. The best advice, when approached by a police officer, is to draw on the fifth amendment first and then ask questions later, with an attorney present.
The logic is that, the police, even under the best of circumstances, may unintentionally twist one’s words in a way that implicates them in a crime that one did not commit. In the worst of cases, the Police use anything one says to frame them.
The article draws on information from the following lecture given by a law school professor and former criminal defense attorney, which deals extensively with this very issue:
With the incredible pressure and awkward situations in which those who are entrusted to serve and protect us are placed in daily, invoking the Fifth Amendment may also be the best way to get them out of a difficult situation.
Paradoxical as it may seem, the next time one is approached by the Police, the best course of action is to simply state, “I invoke my right to remain silent. If you wish to speak with me, I will do so only with my attorney preset.” When they ask why, simply state “Because, anything I say can and will be used to incriminate me.”
As society has made the Subtle Change from Principles to Rules, simply being alive and breathing may cause one to break any number of rules, both written and unwritten, no matter how much one tries to do the right thing.
The Police are there to enforce the rules, and we praise them for it, unfortunately the rules themselves all too often serve to pervert justice rather than serve it. For innocents simply trying to live their life peacefully, the Fifth Amendment may be the best and only source of protection against random prosecutions.