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Assault on the Fifth Amendment

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous, crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service, in time of war, or public danger; nor shall any person be subject, for the same offense, to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. - The Bill of Rights

Witness against yourself

No person shall be... "shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself;"

Citizens are routinely required to sign statements and declarations under the penalty of perjury.

Dr. Phil Roberts was sentenced to 3.5 years in federal prison for a misdemeanor violation of the tax code (26 U.S.C. 7203, "Willful Failure to File a Tax Return"), after refusing to submit tax returns for two years to preserve his Fifth Amendment rights not to testify against himself. At his trial held in 8th Circuit court, Arkansas, Dr. Roberts was was not allowed to present witnesses or evidence or appear at trial and was railroaded into either confessing or going to jail. The government prosecutor never once spoke of any law that Dr. Roberts may have violated and only tainted the jury with how much money he made, where he lived, what he drove and what else he had purchased. When objections were raised, the judge would say, "you can take that up on your appeal."

Double Jeopardy

No person shall be... "subject, for the same offense, to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."

The constitutional provision of double jeopardy forbids that a defendant be tried twice for the same crime on the same set of facts. This clause is intended to limit abuse by the government in repeated prosecution for the same offense as a means of harassment or oppression. It is also in harmony with the common law concept of res judicata which prevents courts from relitigating issues which have already been the subject of a final judgment.

Though the Fifth Amendment initially applied only to the federal government the US Supreme Court has ruled, (Benton v. Maryland), that the double jeopardy clause applies to the states as well through incorporation by the Fourteenth amendment.

But now we can be punished for the same crime in several ways, at both federal and state levels, and by having property seized or by means of other "civil" procedures.

For example, a state might try a defendant for murder, after which the federal government might try the same defendant for a federal crime (perhaps a civil rights violation or kidnapping) related to the same act. An example of this technique was used in the Los Angeles Police Department officers charged with assaulting Rodney King in 1991 who were acquitted by a county court, but some were later convicted and sentenced in federal court for violating his civil rights.

The clause, it has been held, does not prevent separate trials by different governments, and the state and federal governments are considered "separate sovereigns". Therefore, one may be prosecuted for a crime in a state court, and also prosecuted for the same crime in another state, a foreign country, or (most commonly) in a federal court. For example, Timothy McVeigh was executed by the federal government for murdering eight federal employees with a bomb, but could also have been tried in state court for murdering numerous other persons in the same explosion.

Double jeopardy can also be ignored if the later charge is civil rather than criminal in nature, which involves a different legal standard. Acquittal in a criminal case does not prevent the defendant from being the defendant in a civil suit relating to the same incident. For example, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of a double homicide in a California criminal prosecution, but lost a civil wrongful death claim brought over the same victims.

Due Process

No person shall be..."deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;..."

John McCainSenator John McCain introduced S. 3081: Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010 that sets out a comprehensive policy for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected enemy belligerents who are believed to have engaged in hostilities against the United States by requiring these individuals to be held in military custody, interrogated for their intelligence value and not provided with a Miranda warning. The bill does not distinguish between U.S. citizens and non-citizens, and states that suspected belligerents who are considered a high-value detainee shall not be provided with a Miranda warning.Now that the Southern Poverty Law Center and the federal government, via the MIAC report and innumerable other leaked documents, now consider virtually anyone with a dissenting opinion against the state as posing a threat, millions of peaceful American citizens could be swept up by this frightening dragnet of tyranny.

President Bush issued an executive order that could be interpreted to outlaw anti-war protest. This new executive order empowering the federal government to freeze the assets of people who threaten Iraq's stability and its government is so broad it could be applied to any domestic opponent of the Iraq war who has assets in the U.S., charged a former Reagan administration official. Bush's new order authorizes government agencies to freeze the property of anyone who has committed or might plan acts of violence in Iraq. It also targets anyone seeking to disrupt reconstruction efforts or harm humanitarian workers in the country.

But constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein insists the executive order is "so sweeping and broad that it permits the president to threaten virtually anybody who opposes our policy in Iraq." "The frightening thing about this executive order is that there is no opportunity to respond. There isn't even a requirement that when the president identifies you as a tainted person whose assets can't be used that you even have to be notified," said Fein.

With the stroke of a pen, the Supreme Court of the United States effectively rejected one of the most fundamental constitutional freedoms guaranteed to all citizens...

The right to own property.

No person shall be..."deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use..."

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Kelo v. New London that the govenment may seize a home, small business, or other private property of one citizen and transfer it to another private citizen - if the transfer would boost the community's economic development or increase its tax base.

With this ruling, no privately owned property is safe from govenment seizure. Houses, farms, churches, church camps, family-owned restaurants, and small businesses are all at risk. In the dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor argued that this decision would allow the rich to benefit at the expense of the poor, asserting that "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms." She argued that the decision eliminates "any distinction between private and public use of property—and thereby effectively delete[s] the words 'for public use' from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment". As Justice O'Connor wrote in her dissent, "Any single family home might be razed to make way for an apartment building; any church might be replaced with a retail store."

Cities across the country have been using eminent domain to force people off their land, so private developers can build more expensive homes and offices that will pay more in property taxes than the buildings they're replacing.

They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud a man of his home, a fellowman of his inheritance. - Micah 2:2

This ruling creates a scenario where churches and religious organizations which are tax exempt, could be especially vulnerable to make room for economic development that will enhance the tax base. The socialist arm of the liberal left will likely see this an an excellent "back door" tactic to silence Christians and further alienate them in our society.

Dana Berliner and Scott Bullock, attorneys at a libertarian non-profit group called The Institute for Justice, says “This is a nationwide epidemic,” and “We have documented more than 10,000 instances of government taking property from one person to give it to another in just the last five years.” [CBS News: Eminent Domain: Being Abused?, July 4, 2004]

  • In mid-September 2008, the Saint Paul Port Authority announced its intention to take the property of Advance Shoring Company, a successful business that has operated for generations in St. Paul, to make way for a private development project that amounts to questionable real estate speculation with $10 million in public subsidies.
  • Vera Coking, an elderly widow from Atlantic City, fought off attempts of the condemnation of her home by a State agency that sought to take her property and transfer it—at a bargain-basement price—to another private individual: Donald Trump. Trump convinced the State agency to use its “eminent domain” power to take Vera’s home so he could construct a limousine parking lot for his customers—hardly a public purpose.
  • With the blessing of officials from the Village of Port Chester, a politically connected developer approached Didden and his partner with an offer they couldn’t refuse. Because Didden planned to build a CVS on his property—land the developer coveted for a Walgreens—the developer demanded $800,000 from Didden to make him “go away” or ordered Didden to give him an unearned 50 percent stake in the CVS development. If Didden refused, the developer would have the Village of Port Chester condemn the land for his private use. Didden rejected the bold-faced extortion. The very next day the Village of Port Chester condemned Didden’s property through eminent domain so it could hand it over to the developer who made the threat.

© Copyright 2008-2010 Jeremiah Project

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