What is 'Gabby's Law'? Internet slams 5th Amendment protecting Brian Laundrie

At a time when Brian Laundrie is exercising his constitutional rights and keeping quiet about Gabby Petito, the Internet is enraged at his silence


                            What is 'Gabby's Law'? Internet slams 5th Amendment protecting Brian Laundrie
The Gabby Petito case has made the Internet call for changes in laws that allow a person of interest to stay silent (gabspetito/Instagram)

As the search is on for 22-year-old Gabby Petito from Long Island, police have said that Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito's boyfriend, is himself missing and his whereabouts have been unknown for days. The FBI is now looking not just for Petito, but for Laundrie too. On September 17, Friday, officers visited Laundrie's home and had a conversation for about two and a half hours. They left without anyone in custody. Witnesses saw police officers go into Laundrie's house while protestors outside his home demanded justice for the missing woman.

Gabby Petito went missing during a road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie. Petito's mother, Nicole Schmidt, said that she set out on a tour of national parks in early July and was last heard from on August 25. The white van that the duo traveled in has been recovered from Brian Laundrie's home. However, Laundrie added to the mystery of her disappearance by refusing to cooperate with police and hiring an attorney.

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At a time when Laundrie is exercising the fifth amendment and keeping quiet, the Internet is enraged at his silence. After he went missing, people came together to claim that he is actually hiding. Nichole Schmidt told The Daily Mail, "He's not missing, he's hiding. Gabby is missing." According to the fifth 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 offense 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."

Why can't Brian Laundrie be forced to speak?

North Port Police chief Todd Garrison attended a press conference last week, where he acknowledged that investigators are tired of Laundrie refusing to speak up. However, he confirmed that Laundrie cannot be forced to open up as he was “exercising his constitutional rights” to remain silent. “We share that frustration with the world,” Garrison said, adding that the case is still being treated as a missing person case as there is no evidence of crime yet.

In an open letter, Petito's family pleaded with Laundrie's parents, Christopher and Roberta, to tell them where their daughter is. “We are writing this letter to ask you to help find our beautiful daughter. We understand you are going through a difficult time and your instinct to protect your son is strong,” they wrote in the open letter. “We believe you know the location of where Brian left Gabby. We beg you to tell us. As a parent, how could you let us go through this pain and not help us. As a parent how could you put Gabby’s younger brothers and sisters through this," they added.

However, legal experts have confirmed that Laundrie has the right to stay silent — a right that is guaranteed by the Constitution’s 5th amendment. This amendment protects the rights of a person, even if they are a suspect, from making self-incriminating statements. According to the 6th amendment, everyone is entitled to a lawyer.

Internet is furious, calls for 'Gabby's Law'

Thousands of people seeking justice for Gabby Petito have come together to protest against laws that they believe are protecting Laundrie, instead of Gabby. A Facebook group called 'Gabby Petito ~ Vanished Discussion Group' wrote: "There should be some new law, call it Gabby's Law, that makes any person named as a person of interest should be interrogated immediately."



 

Several other groups and pages have been made on Facebook and other social media platforms to protest against Laundrie's silence and the laws that protect him. "Let's exercise our constitutional right to protest Brian Laundrie's silence in regards to the case of the missing woman, Gabby Petito, by peaceably assembling outside the home of Brian's parents Chris and Roberta, who are refusing to let the police or FBI speak with Brian ie who are impeding justice," one Galilea Galactica wrote in a Facebook group called 'Protest Brian Laundrie's Silence'.

Image: Protest Brian Laundrie's Silence/Facebook

"He's lucky Gabby isn't my daughter because there isn't a constitutional right in this world that could keep me from getting to him. Obviously he's not a man because a real man would own up to what he did to her and not hide behind some lawyer. And speaking of lawyers.... That damn lawyer should be encouraging him to give that family closure. How would he feel if it were his daughter? Karma is a bitch," one Robert Jardine wrote in the same group.

Image: Protest Brian Laundrie's Silence/Facebook

Meanwhile, authorities looking for Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie revealed that they had limited access to their cell phone tracking data as a manhunt for Laundrie was called off over Florida’s Gulf Coast Saturday night, September 18. There has been no sign of Petito's 23-year-old fiance four days after he went missing from his North Point, Florida house.