LOCATION: Alameda County Sheriff's Office
DOCKET NO.: 76-6942
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: Oregon Supreme Court
CITATION: 435 US 333 (1978)
ARGUED: Jan 18, 1978
DECIDED: Mar 22, 1978
Phillip M. Margolin -
Thomas H. Denney -
Facts of the case
Media for Lakeside v. OregonAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 18, 1978 in Lakeside v. Oregon
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 22, 1978 in Lakeside v. Oregon
Warren E. Burger:
The judgment and opinion of the court in Lakeside against Oregon will also be announced by Mr. Justice Stewart.
This case is here on a writ of certiorari granted to the Supreme Court of Oregon.
The petitioner Ensio Ruben Lakeside was brought to trial in an Oregon court on a criminal charge.
Four witnesses testified from the defense s but the petitioner himself did not take the witness stand on his own behalf.
Over the objection of his counsel, the trial judge instructed the Jury that the defendant has an option whether or not to testify and that no adverse inferences of any kind were to be drawn from the petitioners failure to take the witness stand.
The question presented in this case is whether the giving of such a cautionary instruction over the objection of Defense Council violates the Constitution.
The Oregon Court of Appeals believing that a trial judge should not give this cautionary instruction when Defense Council objects, reversed the petitioner's conviction and ordered a new trial.
But the Oregon Supreme Court reinstated the conviction holding that the giving of instruction over the objection of counsel did not violate the constitutional rights of the defendant.
Because of conflicting decisions in several other courts, we granted certiorari.
It is an established rule in Oregon as it is in the Federal Judicial system that the kind of instruction given in this case must be given if the defendant requests it.
The petitioner does not question this rule, and orders the assert that the language of the instruction actually given was in any respect an erroneous statement of the law.
His argument is quite simply that this protective instruction becomes constitutionally impermissible when given over the defendant's objection.
For the reasons set out in some detail in the written opinion of the court, we hold that the giving of this cautionary instruction over the defendant's objection does not violate either the constitutional privilege against compulsory self-incrimination or the constitutional right to the assistance of counsel.
Accordingly the judgment of the Supreme Court of Oregon is affirmed, Mr. Justice Stevens has filed a dissenting opinion in most of which Mr. Justice Marshall has joined.
Mr. Justice Brennan took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you Mr. Justice Stewart.