Pass the fifth

Posted by Bookworm on June 30, 2003

There is a phrase "to plead the fifth", which refers to the fifth amendment to the US constitution. It gives criminals the right to not incriminate themselves. The legal equivalent of "No comment".

The full text of the amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Or, "pass the fifth" could refer to passing the fifth grade in school.