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Abstract

Defendant, charged with conspiracy to import and sell narcotics, requested a special instruction that failure of defendant to take the witness stand does not create any presumption against him. A federal statute specifically provides that no such presumption shall arise. The trial court refused the instruction, and after the circuit court of appeals affirmed the conviction, the case was taken to the United States Supreme Court. Held, the statute gave defendant a right upon request to have such an instruction given. The error committed by its refusal was not a mere "technical error," but one affecting defendant's substantial rights. Bruno v. United States, 308 U.S. 287, 60 S. Ct. 198 (1939).

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