Virginia Declaration of Rights

Andrew Trees

Professor Andrew Trees, Roosevelt University

Section eight states that no one “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” a clear a precursor for the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination as well as some other protections found in the Sixth Amendments. For a fuller discussion of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, see the introductory material.

Virginia Declaration of Rights

1776

 

Section 8. That in all capital or criminal prosecutions a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence in his favor, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; that no man be deprived of his liberty except by the law of the land or the judgement of his peers.

The last part of the section (“no man be deprived of his liberty except by the law of the land or the judgement of his peers”) anticipates to some extent the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

 

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Collaborative Curriculum: Bill of Rights Copyright © by Andrew Trees. All Rights Reserved.

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