• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court held that prosecutors or judges cannot make negative comments about a defendant’s invoking the Fifth Amendment and that this protection against self-incrimination applies to the states under the due process clause.

No one can stop a juror from drawing an inference regarding guilt or innocence from a defendant’s declining to take the stand in his or her own defense. However, the Supreme Court ruled that a negative comment regarding the defendant’s decision to remain silent, when made by the prosecutor or judge in front of the jury, tends to make the jurors disregard the defendant’s presumption of innocence. The Court, in a 7-2 decision that overruled Adamson v. California[case]Adamson v. California[Adamson v. California] (1947), declared that the right against self-incrimination was a fundamental right protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and that even a mention of the defendant’s refusal to testify in a criminal case was an unconstitutional deprivation of the defendant’s rights. William O. DouglasDouglas, William O.;Griffin v. California[Griffin v. California] wrote the opinion for the Court, with Potter Stewart and Byron R. White dissenting.Self-incrimination, immunity against;Griffin v. California[Griffin v. California]

Adamson v. California

Benton v. Maryland

Bill of Rights

Due process, procedural

Fifth Amendment

Incorporation doctrine

Self-incrimination, immunity against

Categories: History