CourtSpeak: Counselman v. Hitchcock Fifth Amendment Case (1892)

Criminal Justice Read more from
Chapter The Fuller Court (1888–1910)

Justice Samuel Blatchford (unanimous): “It is impossible that the meaning of the constitutional provision can only be that a person shall not be compelled to be a witness against himself in a criminal prosecution against himself. It would doubtless cover such cases; but it is not limited to them. The object was to insure that a person should not be compelled, when acting as a witness in any investigation, to give testimony which might tend to show that he himself had committed a crime. The privilege is limited to criminal matters, but it is as broad as the mischief against which it seeks to guard.”


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