Sunday, December 22, 2013

Carter v. Kentucky case brief

Carter v. Kentucky case brief summary
450 U.S. 288 (1981)

Petitioner inmate sought certiorari review of the order of the Kentucky Supreme Court, which affirmed his conviction for third-degree burglary.

An inmate was sentenced to a maximum term of 20 years for third-degree burglary. The trial court refused his request to instruct the jury that his failure to testify could not be used as an inference of guilt.


  • The Court granted certiorari, holding that U.S. Constitutional Amendment V obligated the trial court to give the "no-adverse-inference" jury instruction requested by the inmate. 
  • The Court held that a limiting instruction minimized the danger that jurors would speculate that the inmate was guilty because he exercised his constitutional privilege not to testify.

The Court reversed and remanded defendant's burglary conviction and sentence.

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