The Admissibility of Prior Silence to Impeach the Testimony of Criminal Defendants

This Note focuses on whether a defendant who was called as a witness at the prior, severed trial of a codefendant and refused to testify by invoking the fifth amendment can subsequently be impeached by this silence at his own trial. In addition to the obvious implications this issue has for severed criminal trials, the factors considered when deciding whether impeachment by silence should be allowed generally are in sharpest focus in this factual setting. Thus, the analysis of the constitutional and evidentiary questions this Note enlists to argue that impeachment by silence in this context is permissible applies as well to other situations involving impeachment by post-Miranda silence.