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Kastigar v. United States - Case Background, How Comprehensive Must The Offered Immunity Be?

court petitioners supreme decision


Charles Joseph Kastigar, Michael Gorean Stewart


United States

Petitioners' Claim

That the petitioners were correct to refuse to testify because only transactional immunity, which was not granted, would satisfy the Fifth Amendment with respect to self-incrimination.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

Hugh R. Manes

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Erwin N. Griswold

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (writing for the Court), Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall (William J. Brennan, Jr., and William H. Rehnquist did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

22 May 1972


The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals.


The case of Kastigar v. United States raised many important questions concerning the extent and application of Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, levels of immunity, refusal of a witness to testify on the grounds of inadequate immunity, and the historical precedents for compulsory testimony.

Related Cases

  • Counselman v. Hitchcock, 142 U.S. 547 (1892).
  • Brown v. Walker, 161 U.S. 591 (1896).
  • Ullmann v. United States, 350 U.S. 422 (1956).
  • Speiser v. Randall, 357 U.S. 513 (1958).
  • Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1 (1964).

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
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