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Getting a Handle on the Bill of Rights – Part 2


Last time… on Knowing Better… So I decided to spend this weekend making
him a life preserver, since I’ll be working with my hands I figured I’d help you learn
the Bill of Rights by using your hands as well. Now to the third amendment, stick with me
this one gets a little weird. Where is the detonator? Then I’ll sew these up and add some snaps
and stuff to it, and you’ll get to see it in action next week when I finish the bill
of rights. So last week we got through the first four
amendments of the bill of rights. To recap, the first amendment has five rights
– speech, press, religion, petition, and assembly. The second amendment is your right to bear
arms. The third amendment is your protection against
the quartering of troops – the three-legged soldier. And the fourth amendment is your protection
against unreasonable search and seizure. I also finished the life preserver for Wheatley,
so today we’re at the river to test it out. But first, let’s talk about the fifth amendment. 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 offence 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. Ugh… that is a lot to unpack… First off, this is your right to remain silent…
sort of. You are not required to be a witness for or
against yourself when charged with a crime. However, unlike in the movies, you don’t
go up to the witness stand and answer some questions the way you want, and others you
just say “I plead the fifth.” That is not how it works. The fifth amendment is an all or nothing deal. If you choose to waive that right and go onto
the witness stand, you cannot pick and choose which questions you want to answer – or
you’ll likely be found in contempt. You either waive your fifth amendment right
go on the stand, or exercise your right and remain in your chair. Likewise, unlike on TV, pleading the fifth
to the police does not work either – that’s not when the fifth amendment applies at all. When speaking to the police, you have three
options. Tell the truth, lie, or say nothing. Saying nothing is not your fifth amendment
right, that’s part of the Miranda warning. And I know this is a bit off topic, but anything
you say can be used against you, and the arrest counts. Whether the police remember to read you your
Miranda warning or not. The famous “you have the right to remain
silent, anything you say can and will be used against you” line is not some magic police
spell… the arrest still counts and anything you say can be used against you even in the
extremely unlikely event that they forget to tell it to you. The fifth amendment also protects you from
Double Jeopardy. That means you cannot be charged for the same
crime twice. This is why OJ Simpson was found innocent,
then wrote a book called “If I did it”… and has not, cannot, and will never, be charged
again. This doesn’t mean that if you’re charged
with possession once and found innocent you can never be tried for possession again. It just means you can’t be tried for the
same EXACT crime twice. You can be charged for possession under different
circumstances on a different day. The last part of the fifth amendment is Eminent
Domain. If the city wants to build an intergalactic
Superhighway through your backyard, and you refuse to sell your land. The constitution allows for them to take it
anyway – paying you fair compensation – and build their highway. The idea is that whatever they were hoping
to build is for the common good. Lately this has also been called into question
when the local governments decide to buy up a ton of poor peoples’ homes and then sell
the land to a corporation like Walmart. Is that really for the common good? So, the fifth amendment: Right to remain silent. Double Jeopardy. Eminent Domain. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused
shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and
district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been
previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation;
to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining
witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. The main point of the sixth amendment is that
you are afford a speedy trial by jury. What is a speedy trial? Well back in 1790’s when these were ratified,
speedy meant six months. Luckily, 220 years later, a speedy trial now
means… six months. If you’re lucky. Those who know about the justice system know
that it is by no means a speedy system. Two weeks ago I told you the story about a
gamer who has been awaiting trial for over two years – that’s partially his own fault
through several failed motions to dismiss, which just extends the process. The sixth amendment also gives you the right
to face your accusers and witnesses. Nobody can accuse you of a crime anonymously. But more importantly, it gives you the right
to an attorney, even if you can’t afford one – that other part of the Miranda warning
that everyone remembers. While this was in the constitution for almost
200 years, nobody thought this meant you got one for free until the Gideon case in 1963. Of course, this right has also been twisted
around in every state. In some states you still have to pay for your
Public Defender, in others your Public Defender may be so overloaded they have mere minutes
to discuss your case. John Oliver does a fantastic bit about this
and the documentary Gideon’s Army does a great job about discussing the flaws of this
system. The seventh amendment may seem a little silly
and out-dated, just like the third, but you’re probably going to have to remember it anyway,
so let’s jump into it… In suits at common law, where the value in
controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved,
and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States,
than according to the rules of the common law. The seventh amendment states that if you sue
someone in civil court for anything over twenty dollars you are guaranteed a trial by jury. At least, back in the 1790’s. Unlike the sixth amendment, this one has been
unofficially updated, and many have argued it was always intended to increase with inflation. The number is now around $75,000. But in order to remember it… Hey, give me my twenty bucks. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor
excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. This is your protection against cruel and
unusual punishment. So… no torture. But keep in mind that the amendment says cruel
AND unusual. There have been several cases where a judge
has sentenced someone to wear a sandwich-board saying “I got caught shoplifting” on a
corner for several hours… is that unusual? Yes. It is cruel? No. Is it pretty funny? You bet. So it’s constitutionally okay. The death penalty on the other hand. Is it unusual? Sadly no, not really. It is cruel? Some would argue, yes. So to this day, it’s federally allowed. Public opinion on this one sways back and
forth. Putting a life preserver on your ferret and
making him swim in the river? Unusual? Absolutely… Cruel?… The eighth amendment also protects you from
excessive bail. Unfortunately this has also recently come
under the microscope, as “excessive” is case by case. For a single mother of four accused of possession
of a controlled substance, $200 may be excessive. For a billionaire accused of murder, $200,000
may be pennies. There have been several articles and TV shows
recently which have looked at this unbalanced system, and I again highly recommend checking
out John Oliver’s report about it. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain
rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. Commonly shortened to the “enumeration of
rights.” Basically all this means is that even if it’s
not explicitly written in the constitution, as long as it’s not explicitly made illegal,
you’re allowed to do it. As I mentioned earlier, there is no explicit
right to privacy in the constitution, so it’s interpreted using the fourth and the ninth. To get a little more ridiculous, the constitution
doesn’t say you’re allowed to eat chicken, but you’re totally allowed to eat chicken…
thanks to the ninth amendment. While this seems like a really dumb amendment,
it’s actually pretty genius. If not for the ninth, you would only be allowed
the rights that are explicitly written within it. Thanks to the ninth, as long as it’s not
illegal, it’s okay. The powers not delegated to the United States
by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States
respectively, or to the people. The tenth amendment says that anything not
in the constitution, or left to the federal government to decide, is left to the states. Unless the constitution specifically says
the states do not have that power – like the power to regulate immigration or international
trade. This amendment is commonly what is cited in
the “States Rights” movements. Using a recent example, the constitution does
not define marriage. So it was left to the states to decide for
many years. This is also a video in itself, but in short,
the Supreme Court used the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as other parts of the constitution,
to override the states and make it legal federally. So let’s quickly recap all ten of the bill
of rights. The First Amendment has five rights: Speech,
Press, Religion, Petition, and Assembly. The Second Amendment is your right to bear
arms. The Third Amendment is your protection from
quartering of troops. The Fourth Amendment is your protection from
unreasonable search and seizure. The Fifth Amendment is your right to remain
silent, protection from double jeopardy, and right to eminent domain. The Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial
by jury. The Seventh Amendment is your right to federally
sue someone over $20. The Eight Amendment is your protection against
cruel and unusual punishment and excessive bail. The Ninth Amendment is the numeration of rights,
if it’s not written in the Constitution, and it’s not illegal, you’re still allowed to
do it. If I can’t see my thumb, it’s still there. The Tenth Amendment is states’ rights. Anything not given to the federal government
by the Constitution is given to the states. If it’s not on my hands, it’s on my feet. So the next time Jimmy Kimmel or some youtuber
comes along trying to make you look stupid and asks you how many Bill of Rights you know,
now, you’ll know better.

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