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The Sanders Firm, P.C.: Self Incrimination and Public Employment

The Sanders Firm, P.C., which is the premiere civil rights firm in New York City, believes that public employees need to know their rights against self-incrimination and in relationship to the Fifth Amendment. The fact is that public employees, those who are employed with the government, are protected from self-incrimination.

Basics of Self-Incrimination

Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, no person may be forced to bear witness against himself or herself in a court of law. This protection against self-incrimination includes those interrogated about a crime or arrested for a crime. Self-incrimination also applies to public employees.

The purpose of the clause in the Fifth Amendment, which states a person charged with a crime may not be forced to “be a witness against himself,” is to ensure that defendants are in no way forced to admit guilt, whether through basic questioning, abusive treatment, or torture. In order to win a criminal case in a court of law, the government must prove its case without any attempt to force a defendant into participating in his/her own prosecution.

Public Employee Protection

The Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination extends to public employees when questioned by their employer. If a government employer questions a public employee on penalty of discipline or job loss, if the public employee waives his or her right against “self-incrimination,” then the statements obtained by the employer may not be used in any criminal proceedings against the employee. The reasoning is that the public employee has not waived his or her Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination regarding any crimes the waiving of his or her right against self-incrimination was done to protect their employment with the government. To find otherwise, the employer would in essence be usurping the Fifth Amendment on behalf of the prosecution, forcing the public employee to bearing witness against his or herself.

Have Your Rights Been Violated?

At The Sanders Firm, P.C., we believe that your rights as a public employee are unique and important. As part of the government, you are rights are protected by the Fifth Amendment. It is essential that you protect these rights and if they have been violated you may seek redress.

Violation of public employee Fifth Amendment rights in relationship to self-incrimination include interrogations in which employees are threatened with being demoted, fired, or in some other way punished; intimidation in order to admit guilt or wrongdoing, and threats related to firing, demotion, or other such punishments if the employee does not tell the truth and admit guilt. Generally, such behavior by a government employer is unlawful.

We Can Help

We at The Sanders Firm, P.C. are ready to assist you if you are a public employee who has had their Fifth Amendment rights violated. Contact us and we will be happy to help you. At The Sanders Firm, P.C., where we pledge to be your voice for justice, we are passionate about your individual civil rights.