The Fuller Court (1888–1910)

Criminal Justice

What decision gave broad Fifth Amendment protection to grand jury witnesses?

The Fuller Court unanimously ruled 9–0 in Counselman v. Hitchcock (1892) that Charles Counselman was entitled to invoke the protections of the Fifth Amendment when he was a grand jury witness. The government contended that Counselman was not entitled to invoke the Fifth Amendment because he was called as a witness, not as the focus of the criminal inquiry. However, the Court disagreed, emphasizing that it applied when a person was a “witness in any investigation.”


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