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Adamson v. California

Significance, Justice Black Argues For Total Incorporation, Due Process Of Law


Dewey Adamson


The State of California

Appellant's Claim

That the state prosecutor who drew the jury's attention to Adamson's refusal to testify at his own murder trial violated the Fifth Amendment's ban on self-incrimination.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Morris Lavine

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Walter L. Bowers

Justices for the Court

Harold Burton, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, Robert H. Jackson, Stanley Forman Reed (writing for the Court), Wiley Blount Rutledge, Fred Moore Vinson

Justices Dissenting

Hugo Lafayette Black, Frank Murphy


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

23 June 1947


Finding that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not make all aspects of the Bill of Rights applicable at the state level, the Supreme Court declined to rule that the prosecutor had committed a crucial error and upheld Dewey's conviction.

Related Cases

  • Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319 (1937).
  • Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609 (1965).


West's Encyclopedia of American Law. Minneapolis, MN: West Publishing, 1998.

Further Readings

  • Cortner, Richard C. The Supreme Court and the Second Bill of Rights. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1981.
  • The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights: The Incorporation Theory. New York: Da Capo Press, 1970.
  • Nelson, William E. The Fourteenth Amendment: From Political Principle to Judicial Doctrine. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953