Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 19,800+ case briefs...

Nix v. Whiteside

United States Supreme Court
475 U.S. 157 (1986)



Whiteside (defendant) was convicted of murder. For his trial, he was appointed a lawyer, Robinson. As they were preparing for trial, Whiteside and his friends who were present during the stabbing all told Robinson that they saw the victim reaching for something, though they could not see what. Robinson’s defense strategy was self-defense because Whiteside reasonably believed that the victim was reaching for a gun. However, a week before trial, Whiteside told Robinson that the thing the victim had been reaching for was metallic. When Robinson questioned him further, Whiteside said that if he did not testify that he saw a gun he would be “dead.” Robinson assured Whiteside that all they needed to prove was reasonable belief the victim had a gun. Robinson went on to say that if Whiteside testified to seeing something metallic, this would be perjury and Robinson would have to tell the court. Whiteside did testify at trial but did not perjure himself. The jury found Whiteside guilty of murder. Whiteside moved for a new trial claiming he had been deprived of a fair trial when Robinson told him not to testify to seeing something metallic. The trial court denied the motion. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals however held that Robinson’s threat to violate attorney-client privilege violated the standards of effective representation.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)

Concurrence (Brennan, J.)

Concurrence (Stevens, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 511,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 511,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 19,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial