A calculated attack by a man of prominence in the field of social and political theory questions the validity of the Fifth...

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COMMON SENSE AND THE FIFTH AMENDMENT

A calculated attack by a man of prominence in the field of social and political theory questions the validity of the Fifth Amendment as a true protection of the individual either in Congressional Investigations or criminal court cases. In his discussion Mr. Hook devotes himself exclusively to the particular phrase ""....nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself..."" which has received such overwhelming notice, especially in connection with the Communist trials. In several connections, with logic, psychology, ethics, politics and the individual, he makes a consistent and convincing defense for his beliefs. Points brought up include the difficulty of telling whether the witness believes an answer might furnish incriminating evidence; the usually legitimate presumption of guilt when he doesn't answer; the derogatory inferences to be drawn in the social world from a refusal to answer; the detrimental use of the amendment as a political football; and the conclusion that justice consists in not letting the guilty escape as much as in preventing the innocent from suffering. In sum the evidence reveals the amendment as more of a shield for guilt than a protection of innocence. A stimulating report which, with its balance of scholarliness and vivid specific examples, should appeal to lay and learned audiences alike.

Pub Date: April 26, 1957

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Criterion

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1957