1 minute read

Zicarelli v. The New Jersey State Commission of Investigation

Significance, The Supreme Court Ruling, The Issue Of Immunity, Vagueness Of The Statute


Joseph Arthur Zicarelli


The New Jersey State Commission of Investigation

Petitioner's Claim

That a state commission's requirement that Zicarelli answer questions under a grant of immunity from prosecution was inconsistent with his constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Michael A. Querques

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Andrew F. Phelan

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 Commission could compel Zicarelli to answer questions under a grant of immunity without violating his constitutional rights.

Related Cases

  • Kastigar v. United States, 406 U.S. 441 (1972)

Further Readings

  • Brune, Susan E. "The Fifth Amendment and Fear of Foreign Prosecution." New York Law Journal, Vol. 219, no. 38, February 27, 1998.
  • Heller, Gerald W. "Invoking the 5th in Civil Cases: Awareness of Self-Incrimination Risks in Non-Criminal Forums Can Prevent a Waiver of the Privilege." The National Law Journal, Vol. 17, no. 23, February 6, 1995.

Additional topics

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