Who can invoke the Fifth Amendment Privilege?
- Ohio v. Reiner , 532 U.S. 17 (2001). The Supreme Court held that an individual could invoke his Fifth Amendment rights even if he believed he was innocent. All that is necessary for a valid invocation of the privilege against self- incrimination is that it be “evident from the implications of the question, in the setting in which it is asked, that a responsive answer to the question or an explanation of why it cannot be answered might be dangerous because injurious disclosure could result.” The Court further recognized “that truthful responses of an innocent witness, as well as those of a wrongdoer, may provide the government with incriminating evidence from the speaker’s own mouth.”
- Hoffman v. United States , 341 U.S. 479 (1951). Privilege not only extends to answers that would in themselves support a conviction, but also apply to those responses which “would furnish a link in the chain of evidence needed to prosecute the claimant.”
- McKune v. Lile , 536 U.S. 24 (2002). As part of a sexual abuse treatment program, qualifying inmates can be required to complete and sign an “Admission of Responsibility” form, in which they accept responsibility for the crimes for which they have been sentenced, and complete a sexual history form detailing all prior sexual activities, or face a reduction of their prison privileges for noncompliance. The Supreme Court held that the state had a legitimate penological interest in rehabilitating inmates, and the de minimus adjustment of prison restrictions served this proper prison goal. See also United States v. McDowell , 59 M.J. 662 (A.F. Ct. Crim. App. 2003) (holding that a naval brig’s policy of encouraging participation in its sex offender treatment program and conditioning relatively minor privileges on such participation does not violate a prisoner’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination).