Prosecutor Cannot Comment On Defendant’s Silence

1965

In Griffin v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination not only allows a criminal defendant to refuse to take the witness stand during his trial, but it also bars the prosecutor from urging the jury to interpret that silence as an indication that the defendant has something to hide. The Court reasons that the right against self-incrimination would be meaningless if a defendant’s exercise of the right could be used against him.