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The right not to bear witness against one's self

Self-incrimination is the act of exposing oneself generally, by making a statement, "to an accusation or charge of crime; to involve oneself or another [person] in a criminal prosecution or the danger thereof." Self-incrimination can occur either directly or indirectly: directly, by means of interrogation where information of a self-incriminatory nature is disclosed; or indirectly, when information of a self-incriminatory nature is disclosed voluntarily without pressure from another person. In many legal systems, accused criminals cannot be compelled to incriminate themselves—they may choose to speak to police or other authorities, but they cannot be punished for refusing to do so.


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 in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, that compelling people to identify themselves if requested to do so by police does not violate the Fourth or Fifth Amendments
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: "Answering a request to disclose a name is likely to be so insignificant in the scheme of things as to be incriminating only in unusual circumstances." But those unusual circumstances involved persons. I guess they are insignificant too.
Not Just Japanese Americans: The Untold Story of U.S. Repression During 'The Good War', by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, The Journal of Historical Review, 1986
Detailed and well-annotated survey of United States government's repression of civil liberties during World War II, both before and after the attack on Pearl Harbor
The Smith Act [of June 1940] bore the somewhat misleading official title of Alien Registration Act ... The Voorhis Act, passed later the same month [October 1940], required registration with the Attorney General of all organizations subject to "foreign control," if involved in civilian-military activities or if advocating the overthrow of the government. (the previous Foreign Agents Registration Act applied to individuals.) The fact that the Voorhis Act could require members of the radical organizations to incriminate themselves under the Smith Act did not faze Congress.
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.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Self-incrimination" as of 3 Nov 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.