Smith, sole owner and officer of a clothing corporation, appeared before an OPA examiner in response to a subpoena to produce the corporate books. Under the Emergency Price Control Act these records were required to be kept and preserved. Smith said that the records were "destroyed, lost, or misplaced.'' Then, on claiming privilege against self-incrimination, he testified as to activities of the corporation and contents of the absent records. During the interrogation Smith made a long statement in partial summation of his testimony. When he finished, he was asked, ''This is a voluntary statement. You do not claim immunity with respect to that statement'?" He answered, "No." Smith was later convicted of conspiracy to violate the EPCA by intentionally misusing priority ratings. On appeal, there was a partial reversal on the ground that under the Compulsory Testimony Act Smith had obtained immunity from prosecution to that portion of his testimony to which he had claimed his privilege, but not to that portion to which there was an express waiver. On certiorari, held, reversed. It was not shown whether the "no" applied to the examiner's first or second statement, and no effort was made to clarify its meaning. In view of the specific claim of privilege, the equivocal "no" did not constitute a waiver of his privilege against self-incrimination, and therefore, by his testimony, Smith gained full immunity from prosecution. Smith v. United States, 337 U.S. 137, 69 S.Ct. 1000 (1949).
John A. Nordberg,
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-PRIVILEGE AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION-WAIVER UNDER COMPULSORY TESTIMONY ACT,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol48/iss2/10