Blau v. United States
340 U.S. 332 (1951)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Blau v. United States, 340 U.S. 332 (1951)

Blau v. United States

No. 21

Argued November 7, 1950

Decided January 15, 1951

340 U.S. 332

Syllabus

Petitioner, a witness before a federal grand jury in response to a summons, declined to answer questions concerning activities and records of the Communist Party in Colorado, claiming his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination. Asserting his privilege against disclosing confidential communications between husband and wife, he also refused to reveal the whereabouts of his wife, who was wanted by the grand jury as a witness in connection with the same investigation. It was undisputed that he obtained his knowledge of his wife's whereabouts by communication from her. The District Court overruled both claims of privilege and sentenced petitioner to imprisonment for contempt of court.

Held:

1. Failure to sustain petitioner's claim of privilege against self-incrimination was error. Blau v. United States,340 U. S. 159. P. 340 U. S. 333.

2. Petitioner was entitled to rely on his privilege against disclosing confidential communications between husband and wife because the Government failed to overcome the presumption that the communications were confidential. Pp. 340 U. S. 333-334.

Page 340 U. S. 333

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