Brief Fact Summary. Petitioner was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. He was seen with the victim on the night of the crime and in the alley with her where her body was discovered.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The Fifth Amendment allows a defendant to not testify to prevent self-incrimination.
Issue. Did the instruction to the jury by the trial court commenting on Petitioner’s failure to testify and what inferences may be drawn violated the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination?
Held. Justice Douglas issued the opinion for the United States Supreme Court in reversing the conviction and holding that the comment on Petitioner’s failure to testify violated the Fifth Amendment.
Dissent. Justice Stewart, joined by Justice White, dissents noting that Petitioner was not “compelled.