United State v. Kahriger/Dissent Black

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United States Supreme Court

345 U.S. 22

United State  v.  Kahriger

 Argued: Dec. 16, 17, 1952. --- Decided: March 9, 1953

Mr. Justice BLACK, with whom Mr. Justice DOUGLAS concurs, dissenting.

The Fifth Amendment declares that no person 'shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself'. The Court nevertheless here sustains an Act which requires a man to register and confess that he is engaged in the business of gambling. I think this confession can provide a basis to convict him of a federal crime for having gambled before registration without paying a federal tax. 26 U.S.C. (Supp. V) §§ 3285, 3290, 3291, 3294, 26 U.S.C.A. §§ 3285, 3290, 3291, 3294. Whether or not the Act has this effect, I am sure that it creates a squeezing device contrived to put a man in federal prison if he refuses to confess himself into a state prison as a violator of state gambling laws. [*] The coercion of confessions is a common but justly criticized practice of many countries that do not have or live up to a Bill of Rights. But we have a Bill of Rights that condemns coerced confessions, however refined or legalistic may be the technique of extortion. I would hold that this Act violates the Fifth Amendment. See my dissent in Feldman v. United States, 322 U.S. 487, 494-503, 64 S.Ct. 1082, 1085-1089, 88 L.Ed. 1408.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).