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UNITED STATES V. WONG, 431 U. S. 174 (1977)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Wong, 431 U.S. 174 (1977)

United States v. Wong

No. 74-635

Argued December 6, 1976

Decided May 23, 1977

431 U.S. 174


A witness who, while under investigation for possible criminal activity, is called to testify before a grand jury and is later indicted for perjury in the testimony given before the grand jury, is not entitled to suppression of the false testimony on the ground that no effective warning of the Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent had been given. Pp. 431 U. S. 177-180.

(a) The Fifth Amendment testimonial privilege does not condone perjury, which is not justified by even the predicament of being forced to choose between incriminatory truth and falsehood, as opposed to a refusal to answer. United States v. Knox, 396 U. S. 77; United States v. Mandujano, 425 U. S. 564. Pp. 431 U. S. 178-179.

(b) Nor do Fifth Amendment due process requirements require suppression, since even where searching questions are made of a witness uninformed of the Fifth Amendment privilege of silence, "[o]ur legal system provides methods for challenging the Government's right to ask questions -- lying is not one of them." Bryson v. United States, 396 U. S. 64, 396 U. S. 72. Pp. 431 U. S. 179-180.

553 F.2d 576, reversed and remanded.

BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

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