Griffin v. California 380 U.S. 609 (1965)

views updated

GRIFFIN v. CALIFORNIA 380 U.S. 609 (1965)

Overruling Adamson v. California (1947) without saying so, the Court, speaking through Justice william o. douglas, held that state laws allowing adverse comment on the failure of a criminal defendant to take the stand and deny or explain evidence of which he had knowledge violated his right against self-incrimination. A jury acting on its own might infer what it wished, said Douglas, but what it infers "when the court solemnizes the silence of the accused into evidence against him is quite another thing" and imposes a penalty on the exercise of a constitutional right. Two dissenters argued that adverse comment on the right to silence did not compel the accused to be a witness against himself.

Leonard W. Levy

About this article

Griffin v. California 380 U.S. 609 (1965)

Updated About content Print Article