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Inferences from Failure to Testify

According to Kevin Maurer's AP story on the Hennis case, "The defense had argued that the DNA [in semen inside the murder victim] did not indicate murder, but could have meant Hennis and Eastburn had a romantic liaison some time before the slayings."

If that were true, why didn't Hennis just take the stand and say so?

Until 1965, prosecutors in some states could comment on the fact that the defendant has not testified to a particular point and that a fair inference can be drawn from that failure. The Supreme Court decided in Griffin v. California that such comment violates the Self-Incrimination Clause. It does not, as Justice Stewart explained in his dissent, joined by Justice White.

Fortunately, juries are generally capable of connecting the dots themselves.


Of course, in this case it was easier for the jury to make this connection since Hennis had denied knowing the victim well.

Bonus question: what's more discredited now, the Lancet Study on pain and lethal injection or Dieter's "innocence list"?

This is the 8th murderer the DPIC has had to remove from its list.

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