Carlin Metzger


In United States v. Balsys, the Supreme Court examined the scope of the Fifth Amendment's Privilege Against Self-Incrimination when invoked based on a fear of foreign prosecution. Applying the "same-sovereign" rule, the Court held that the Fifth Amendment only binds the government to which it applies and, therefore, the privilege cannot be invoked based solely upon a fear of foreign prosecution. This Comment analyzes the rationale in prior Supreme Court decisions addressing the scope of the privilege against self-incrimination and contends that despite the Court's revival of the same-sovereign rule in Balsys, the privilege can extend to witnesses who can show a real and substantial fear of foreign criminal prosecution, direct aid by the United States to foreign prosecuting authorities, and a complementary system of criminal justice in the United States and the prosecuting state.

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