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Old January 25th, 2012, 06:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
"nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself"

I'm no lawyer but this could be interpreted as you can't be forced to say anything, as in "pleading the 5th". However, does this mean that you can plead the 5th by with holding evidence? Kinda like can you refuse to unlock a door to your basement that may have incriminating evidence downstairs?
You can refuse to open the door but a judge can issue a warrant for the key. At that point, if you continue to refuse, the authorities can generally enter by force.

In this particular case, I imagine that she will appeal and the prosecution will use the reasoning that this is no different than compelling a defendant to turn over the key to a safe or to take a blood test - both of which are common practice in criminal court cases.

On the other side of the table, I imagine that the defense will try to claim that there is something inherently different about compelling a defendant to turn over something physical, like a key or blood, than compelling a defendant to turn over something intangible that exists only in their mind.

Personally, I don't think the woman should have to turn it over and if I were her, I'd be forgetting it pretty darn quickly.
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