Amendment V to the U.S. Constitution
"No person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself ..."
Agenda for Liberty: A Biography of John Lilburne
, by Jim Powell
, The Triumph of Liberty
, 4 Jul 2000
Lengthy biographical essay
"He was the first to challenge the prosecution tactic of extracting confessions until defendants incriminated themselves. ... Betrayed by one of his collaborators, Lilburne was arrested after he returned to London in December 1637. He was imprisoned in the Gatehouse, and his case came before the Star Chamber. This was separate from the common law courts, and proceedings were based on interrogating defendants. Those who incriminated themselves were declared guilty and imprisoned. 'It was a court of politicians enforcing a policy, not a court of judges administering a law,' noted constitutional historian F.W. Maitland."
John Lilburne: The First English Libertarian
, by Peter Richards, 29 Mar 2008
Detailed biographical essay of "Freeborn John" concluding with reasons to use the modern term "libertarian" for him
"When Lilburne was brought before the court of Star Chamber, he refused to take the oath. 'It is this trial that has been cited by constitutional jurists and scholars in the United States of America as being the historical foundation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is also cited within the 1966 majority opinion of Miranda v Arizona by the U.S. Supreme Court.'"
Martha Down Under: Kangaroos in the Courtroom
, by William L. Anderson, Candice E. Jackson, 15 Mar 2004
No Right to Remain Silent
, by Sheldon Richman
, 25 Jun 2004
Discusses the U.S. Supreme Court decision compelling people to identify themselves if requested to do so by police
"Kennedy and his four colleagues rejected the argument that giving one's name can be an act of self-incrimination. Obviously, if the person questioned is wanted for another crime, then being forced to identify himself does violate the right against self-incrimination. Kennedy dismissed this objection all too casually ... It's tempting and comforting to seek refuge in the notion that only bad people will want to withhold their names from the police. Maybe; maybe not."
Was Freeborn John Tortured in Vain?
, by Wendy McElroy
, 16 Aug 2011
Reviews the history of the right against self-incrimination in England and early America, then describes certain modern attempts to diminish its applicability
"What would removing such a protection against self-incrimination look like? History provides an answer. ... In the late 1530s the Protestant John Lambert was burnt alive for heresy. During his trial Lambert became the first known Englishman to proclaim it was illegal under God and the common law to compel a man to accuse himself. Courts of the day required a defendant to answer a barrage of questions based on evidence gleaned from witnesses or informants without informing him of the charges being brought. The interrogation aimed at trapping a defendant into a confession. ... Silence was deemed a confession."