• Last updated on November 11, 2022

Reaffirming that the due process requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment did not include all the principles in the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination did not apply to the states.

In a criminal trial, the trial judge instructed the jury that the defendant’s refusal to testify might be considered in reaching a verdict. Found guilty, Twining claimed that the judge’s instructions were a violation of his Fifth Amendment right. The Supreme Court, however, rejected Twining’s position by an 8-1 vote. Justice William H. Moody’sMoody, William H.;Twining v. New Jersey[Twining v. New Jersey] opinion emphasized that many precedents had held that the states were not obligated to follow all the requirements of the Bill of Rights. For the purposes of discussion, Moody acknowledged that the trial judge’s comments constituted an infringement on Twining’s privilege against self-incrimination. In dissent, John M. Harlan II argued that the privilege was a fundamental principle of the Anglo-American legal tradition, and he also spoke in favor of the full incorporation of the Bill of Rights into the Fourteenth Amendment. Although subsequent Courts never accepted Harlan’s position on full incorporation, the Twining decision was finally reversed in Malloy v. Hogan[case]Malloy v. Hogan[Malloy v. Hogan] (1964).[case]Twining v. New Jersey[Twining v. New Jersey]Self-incrimination, immunity against;Twining v. New Jersey[Twining v. New Jersey]

Justice William H. Moody's opinion in Twining emphasized precedents that showed states did not have to follow all Bill of Rights requirements.

(Library of Congress)

Adamson v. California

Incorporation doctrine

Malloy v. Hogan

Self-incrimination, immunity against

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