Saturday, November 2, 2013

Griffin v. California case brief

Griffin v. California case brief summary
380 U.S. 609 (1965)

Petitioner appealed a decision of the California Supreme Court affirming a judgment convicting petitioner of murder in the first degree. Petitioner sought consideration of whether a comment on petitioner's failure to testify during the trial on the issue of guilt violated the Self-Incrimination Clause of U.S. Constitutional Amendment V.

The Supreme Court reversed a decision of a state supreme court because it found that a comment rule, approved by the state, violated U.S. Constitutional Amendment V. The court found that the comment on the refusal to testify was a remnant of the inquisitorial system of criminal justice that U.S. Constitutional Amendment V outlawed. The state's comment rule was in substance a rule of evidence that allowed the state the privilege of tendering to the jury for its consideration the failure of the accused to testify. No formal offer of proof was made as in other situations, but the prosecutor's comment and the court's acquiescence were the equivalent of an offer of evidence and its acceptance.


The judgment of the state supreme court was reversed because U.S. Constitutional Amendment Vprohibited comment on petitioner's silence.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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