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ARNDSTEIN V. MCCARTHY, 254 U. S. 71 (1920)

U.S. Supreme Court

Arndstein v. McCarthy, 254 U.S. 71 (1920)

Arndstein v. McCarthy

No. 55

Argued October 21, 22, 1920

Decided November 8, 1920

254 U.S. 71


Under direction of the bankruptcy court, but without objection, an involuntary bankrupt filed schedules of assets and liabilities which, standing alone, did not amount to an admission of guilt or furnish clear proof of crime, and, later in the proceeding, he declined to answer certain question concerning them on the ground that to do so might incriminate him. Held that, by filing the schedules, he did not waive his privilege under the Fifth Amendment. P. 254 U. S. 72.

The privilege of the Amendment applies if it cannot be said that the questions propounded, considered in the light of the circumstances disclosed, may be answered with entire impunity. Id.

The provision of § 7 of the Bankruptcy Act that no testimony given by a bankrupt shall be offered in evidence against him in any criminal proceeding is not a substitute for the protection of the Fifth Amendment, since it does not prevent the use of his testimony to search out other evidence to be used in evidence against him or his property. P. 254 U. S. 73.


The case is stated in the opinion. See also post, 254 U. S. 379.

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