Monday, July 28, 2008

Pleading the fifth

When our founding fathers were signing the declaration of independence, I can only imagine their thoughts of a bright future for our nation. They understood the meaning of life, liberty, and were already engaging in the pursuit of happiness. As time went on, our nation changed. The ideas that those men had were questioned. It was decided that some of the rules did not fit the times, or challenges that we were faced with, so changes were made to " repair " the rules. Today, I do not want to challenge the validity of the words those men signed their name to, and I have no intention to address all of the amendments that have been made to it. But I would like to question the Fifth amendment. The Fifth Amendment protects witnesses from being forced to incriminate themselves. To " plead the fifth" is a refusal to answer a question because the response could form self-incriminating evidence. Well, isn't that the point of being sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ? I bring this discussion because of Peter Lowy, Steven Greenfield, William Wu, and Shannon Marsh. These men were allowed to avoid the Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations questions about accounts at LGT, a Liechtenstein bank that the Senate panel says helped clients evade federal taxes. These men, allegedly, funneled money into offshore banks to avoid paying taxes. They pleaded the fifth, and walked out. Peter Lowy could not even bother to show, and sent his attorney to respond for him.The fact that these people were called in front of a committee to answer questions, in my opinion, would mean that there was some kind of illegal activity. Surely someone that was investigating these men, the ones that brought the information to the committee to start with, had enough information to prove a criminal act had occurred. But no, the men walked away without answering for what they may or may not have done. The Senate panel has no plans to pursue the silent witnesses further, because their point was not to go after these people, but to show what LGT is doing." Well, that should solve the problem. Maybe now, these men, and the owners of the additional 19,000 + accounts that are being questioned will call that 1-800 IRS number and say " oh yeah, by the way, I forgot to tell you about this money I have......" Hey, GW ! Did you make sure these guy's got their stimulus check ? I hope the IRS is foaming at the mouth waiting to get these people in their office.


Da Old Man said...

This is possibly the one amendment that is most easily abused. It was designed to protect, yet it appears to protect those who are undeserving. I tried to look and find the historical logic for it and couldn't. However, if I had to guess, I would say it ties in with the basic innocent until proven guilty tenet.
Also, while British law was pretty civil by the time the colonies became our country, I still imagine corporal punishment was fairly common, and they would not be beyond beating a "confession" out of someone.
It's been proven that when one is beaten enough, even innocent men admit to crimes.

Srinivasan said...

Maybe ur country is far better than ours is all politicians r corrupt..