South Dakota v. Neville 459 U.S. 553 (1983)

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SOUTH DAKOTA v. NEVILLE 459 U.S. 553 (1983)

In this case the Supreme Court answered a question left unresolved by earlier decisions: can a state use as evidence the fact that a person arrested for drunk driving refused to take a blood-alcohol test? griffin v. california (1965) had held that adverse comment on a defendant's refusal to testify impermissibly burdened the right against self-incrimination, and schmerber v. california (1966) had held that a state could compel the taking of a blood-alcohol test without violating that right, which protected against testimonial compulsion only, not compulsion of physical evidence drawn from the body. In Neville the Court ruled that a state that authorized a driver to refuse a blood-alcohol test could introduce that refusal as evidence against him. The Court relied not on the earlier distinction between testimonial and nontestimonial compulsion but on the fact that the element of compulsion was altogether absent here because the state did not require the test.

Leonard W. Levy

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South Dakota v. Neville 459 U.S. 553 (1983)

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South Dakota v. Neville 459 U.S. 553 (1983)