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Griffin v. California

Significance, A Remnant Of The Inquisitorial System, Unwarranted Inferences, Impact, Federal Circuit Court




State of California

Petitioner's Claim

That a prosecutor's comment on the fact that the defendant, Griffin, did not take the stand in a state criminal trial violated the Self-Incrimination Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Morris Lavine

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Albert W. Harris

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., Tom C. Clark, William O. Douglas (writing for the Court), Arthur Goldberg, John Marshall Harlan II

Justices Dissenting

Potter Stewart, Byron R. White (Earl Warren did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

28 April 1965


State laws allowing adverse comment on the failure of a defendant to take the witness stand to deny or explain evidence violates a defendant's right not to incriminate himself.

Related Cases

  • Wilson v. United States, 149 U.S. 60 (1893).
  • Twining v. State of New Jersey, 211 U.S. 78 (1908).
  • Adamson v. California, 332 U.S. 46 (1947).
  • Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1 (1964).


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

Further Readings

  • FindLaw Internet Legal Resources. http://www.findlaw.com.
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford Press, 1992.
  • Levy, Leonard W., ed. Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. Vol. 4. New York: Macmillan, 1986.
  • Lieberman, Jethro K. The Evolving Constitution. New York: Random House, 1992.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972