The Silence Penalty

Author:Jeffrey Bellin
Position:Professor, William & Mary Law School
Pages:395-434
SUMMARY

In every criminal trial, the defendant possesses the right to testify. Deciding whether to exercise that right, however, is rarely easy. Declining to testify shields defendants from questioning by the prosecutor and normally precludes the introduction of a defendant's prior crimes. But silence comes at a price. Jurors penalize defendants who fail to testify by inferring guilt from silence. This... (see full summary)


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