373 U.S. 59 (1963), 600, White v. Maryland

Docket Nº:No. 600
Citation:373 U.S. 59, 83 S.Ct. 1050, 10 L.Ed.2d 193
Party Name:White v. Maryland
Case Date:April 29, 1963
Court:United States Supreme Court

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373 U.S. 59 (1963)

83 S.Ct. 1050, 10 L.Ed.2d 193




No. 600

United States Supreme Court

April 29, 1963

Argued April 16, 1963



Arrested on a charge of murder, petitioner was taken before a Maryland magistrate for a preliminary hearing, and he pleaded guilty without having the advice or assistance of counsel. Counsel was later appointed for him, and he pleaded not guilty at his formal "arraignment," but the plea of guilty made at the preliminary hearing was introduced in evidence at his trial, and he as convicted and sentenced to death.

Held: absence of counsel for petitioner when he entered the plea of guilty before the magistrate violated his rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Hamilton v. Alabama, 368 U.S. 52. Pp. 59-60.

227 Md. 615, 177 A.2d 877, reversed.

Per curiam opinion.


Petitioner, who was sentenced to death while his codefendant was given life, appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals, which affirmed his conviction. 227 Md. 615, 177 A.2d 877. We granted certiorari "limited to the point of law raised in Hamilton v. Alabama, 368 U.S. 52." See 371 U.S. 909.

Petitioner was arrested on May 27, 1960, and brought before a magistrate on May 31, 1960, for a preliminary hearing. But that hearing was postponed, and not actually held until August 9, 1960. At that time, petitioner was not yet represented by a lawyer. When arraigned at that preliminary hearing, he pleaded guilty. What Maryland

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calls the "arraignment" was first held September 8, 1960, but, since petitioner was not represented by counsel, his arraignment was postponed and counsel appointed for him on September 9, 1960. He was finally arraigned on November 25, 1960, and entered pleas of "not guilty" and "not guilty by reason of insanity." At his trial, the plea of guilty made at the preliminary hearing on August 9, 1960, was introduced in evidence. * Since he did not have counsel at the time of the preliminary hearing, he argued that Hamilton v. Alabama, supra, applied. The Court of Appeals disagreed, saying that arraignment in Alabama is "a critical stage in a criminal proceeding" where rights are preserved or lost (368 U.S. 53-54), while, under Maryland law, there was "no requirement (nor any practical possibility under our present criminal procedure) to appoint counsel" for petitioner at the "preliminary...

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