Comparison of a Citizen’s Right to Silence Under American and English Political Systems

Author: Kibitlewski, Joseph L.
Politics being what they are give rise to the dynamic changes that appear to be constant. These political changes reflect the desire for structural change as well. Basic to the structure of any nation is its commitment to a fundamental set of principles. This usually takes the form of a written Constitution. Outside research combined with unfulfilled expectations mesh with one another. The citizens must be convinced that the new government is indeed superior to that which was displaced. This work can be an example of how two very successful political systems provide stability within their populations.

The Constitution of the United States has experienced over two hundred years of peaceful changes in leadership. Great Britain bears witness to a similar history of stability. This is because the citizens of both these countries respect and trust their governments. The trust is warranted because protections from abuses of government are proscribed by law. This work is but a small example of what is possible if the government and the citizens have a clear and defined framework within which to exist. Exhaustive research was conducted and has been combined with a writing style that enables one to fully understand the underlying legal principles presented.


"“This book provides a comprehensive examination of the nuances of U.S. Constitutional law and a closely based similar judicial system. The variances in the political systems of each country are paramount because they provide the foundations for the umbrella of protections granted. Within each political system resides feedback controls that are useful for the indicators they employ for lawful application of the laws; specifically, the oversight concomitant with "judicial review." It is both descriptive and analytical in its approach employing both historical perspectives and current pragmatic possibilities.” (From the Commendatory Preface) Professor Julian Roebuck, (ret.), Clark / Atlanta University

“This book offers the reader a thorough review of the historical developments with respect to a citizen's right to silence in the English and American systems of justice. With the American system of justice being built upon the English system, this book describes the similarities and more importantly, the different paths taken by America to protect its citizens from the power of the government with respect to contact with law enforcement in criminal matters. Dr. Kibitlewski uses both case law and commentary to arrive at the conclusion that the United States' system is superior to that of the English system in the protection afforded citizens with respect to remaining silent. This conclusion is based upon his analysis of America's written Bill of Rights and the very difficult process to alter that document should our government want to expand police powers. The book addresses the influence that PACE 1984 has had on the cautions given to English citizens when questioned by the police. The English interview (comparable to the American interrogation) must be preceded with a caution that advises the citizen that they can remain silent but there are consequences for doing so. Those consequences can have a devastating impact upon the citizen's ability to mount a defense, secure an alibi or to merely explain co-incidents at a later date. The American system, on the other hand, has no such negative consequences should a citizen (suspect) choose not to talk with the police. Dr. Kibitlewski's book is a fascinating read for anyone interested in comparative law enforcement. It leaves me feeling that A "innocent until proven guilty" rings more true in America than in England.” – Susan F. Brinkley, Ph.D., University of Tampa

“This book provides a thought-provoking look at the age-old debate between the protection of individual rights vis-à-vis governmental rights. The author contends that the Fifth Amendment right prohibiting self-incrimination should be extended to "things" and "actions" and not solely focused on written or oral communications. For example, one should not be compelled to give a blood sample, as this is a "thing" that could be used against him/her in a legal proceeding. He compares his premise to the accepted application of the First Amendment protection of free speech to "things" and "actions" such as wearing a flag on a pair of jeans. In order to provide an historical background to support his premise, he traces and compares English law to American law as it relates to the privilege against self-incrimination. He interjects the concept of torture and how it contributed to the development of current law both in England and in the United States. He also provides an historical backdrop to explain the evolution of Fifth Amendment rights … Finally, the author's research does not culminate in a definitive answer. Instead it leaves the reader with questions and piques his/her interest to follow the author's premise over the next several years. If the original intent of the right to silence was predicated upon the use of torture to secure the truth, it is reasonable to assume that increases in crime, coupled with advances in science, may create an atmosphere wherein the right to silence becomes a duty to speak. The Bill of Rights has sheltered the citizens of the United States for over two hundred years. The next fifty years may be the most crucial to its survival. I challenge you to use the information contained in this book as you evaluate the next fifty years of constitutionally protected rights and privileges.” – Jeanette Brock, J.D., International College

Table of Contents

List of tables
1. Introduction
2. United states and english law under judicial Review
3. Early methods of fact finding
4. The right to silence under united states law
5. English law and suspects' rights
6. The supreme court's ruling and the bill of rights
7. Public attitudes concerning the right to silence
8. Conclusion
1. The use of immunity
2. The privilege against self-incrimination
3. Areas where fifth amendment privilege against
4. England - self incrimination
5. England - withdrawal of privilege against Incrimination of self or spouse in certain Proceedings
6. England - privilege against incrimination of Self or spouse in certain proceedings