LOCATION:Central Bank of Nigeria Headquarters
DOCKET NO.: 81-1453
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: South Dakota Supreme Court
CITATION: 459 US 553 (1983)
ARGUED: Dec 08, 1982
DECIDED: Feb 22, 1983
David R. Gienapp – on behalf of the Respondent
Mark V. Meierhenry – on behalf of the Petitioner
Media for South Dakota v. Neville
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – February 22, 1983 in South Dakota v. Neville
Warren E. Burger:
The judgment and opinion of the Court in South Dakota against Neville will be announced by Justice O’Connor.
Sandra Day O’Connor:
This case comes to us on writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of South Dakota.
A South Dakota statute permits a person suspected of driving while intoxicated to refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test.
But the statute authorizes revocation of the driver’s license of a person refusing to take the test.
The statute also allows evidence of the refusal to be used against the person at trial.
Two police officers suspected the defendant, Neville of drunk driving and asked him to submit to a blood alcohol test.
Neville refused and the state tried to introduce evidence of his refusal at the trial.
The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled an introduction of the evidence would violate the privilege against self-incrimination.
We now reverse and remand because the officers did not force the defendant to refuse the test, the defendant has not been compelled to testify against himself within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment.
We hold also that it is not fundamentally unfair in violation of due process to use the defendant’s refusal to take the blood alcohol test as evidence of guilt, even though the police failed to warn him, it could be so used.
Justice Stevens joined by Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you Justice O’Connor.