Criminal Law - Prosecutor Calling a Witness to the Stand for the Purpose of Exacting a Claim of the Privilege Against Self-Incrimination is not Prejudicial Error (Namet v. United States, United States Supreme Court 1963)
Namet and Mr. and Mrs. Kahn were charged with violation of a federal wagering tax law. Prior to the trial the Kahns pleaded guilty. Namet persisted in his innocence and was brought to trial. The prosecutor called Mrs. Kahn as a witness. She refused to testify, asserting her privilege against self-incrimination. The court ruled that since she had pleaded guilty she must answer questions concerning her own gambling activities, but as to third persons her privilege still existed. After this ruling the prosecutor made no attempt to connect Mrs. Kahn with Namet. Later the prosecutor called Mr. Kahn. After a series of questions concerning his gambling activities, four questions were asked. His refusal to answer these questions was sustained. Each question was designed to connect Mr. Kahn with Namet. The jury was charged relative to these two incidents: "Nor should any inference be drawn against him (Namet) because of the Kahns (sic) refusal to testify, unless it would be a logical inference that would appeal to you as having a direct bearing upon the defendant's guilt." (Emphasis added.)
G. D. Adams,
Criminal Law - Prosecutor Calling a Witness to the Stand for the Purpose of Exacting a Claim of the Privilege Against Self-Incrimination is not Prejudicial Error (Namet v. United States, United States Supreme Court 1963),
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol1/iss1/12