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FERGUSON V. GEORGIA, 365 U. S. 570 (1961)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ferguson v. Georgia, 365 U.S. 570 (1961)

Ferguson v. Georgia

No. 44

Argued November 14-15, 1960

Decided March 27, 1961

365 U.S. 570


The Georgia Code, § 38-416, makes a person charged with a criminal offense incompetent to testify under oath in his own behalf at his trial; but § 38-415 gives him the right to make an unsworn statement to the jury without subjecting himself to cross-examination. At the trial in a state court in which appellant was convicted of murder, his counsel was denied the right to ask him any questions when he took the stand to make his unsworn statement.

Held: this application of § 38-415 denied appellant the effective assistance of his counsel at a crucial point in his trial, and it violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 365 U. S. 570-596.

215 Ga. 117, 109 S.E.2d 44, reversed.

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