ADAMSON v. CALIFORNIA
Adamson was convicted in California of murder in the first degree. During the trial, the prosecutor, in accordance with a California law, made comments to the jury which highlighted Adamson's decision not to testify on his own behalf.
Is a defendant's Fifth Amendment right not to bear witness against himself applicable in state courts and protected by the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause?
Legal provision: US Const. Amend 14, Section 1; Amend 5
A divided Court found that the the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause did not extend to defendants a Fifth Amendment right not to bear witness against themselves in state courts. Citing past decisions such as Twining v. New Jersey (1908), which explicitly denied the application of the due process clause to the right against self-incrimination, and Palko v. Connecticut (1937), Justice Reed argued that the Fourteenth Amendment did not extend carte blanche all of the immunities and privileges of the first ten amendments to individuals at the state level. In a lengthy dissent which included a deep investigation of the Fourteenth Amendment's history, Justice Black argued for the absolute and complete application of the Bill of Rights to the states.