389 U.S. 31 (1967), 284, Pinto v. Pierce

Docket Nº:No. 284
Citation:389 U.S. 31, 88 S.Ct. 192, 19 L.Ed.2d 31
Party Name:Pinto v. Pierce
Case Date:October 23, 1967
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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389 U.S. 31 (1967)

88 S.Ct. 192, 19 L.Ed.2d 31

Pinto

v.

Pierce

No. 284

United States Supreme Court

Oct. 23, 1967

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES

COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT

Syllabus

The Federal District Court granted respondent's petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that a hearing of testimony by the state trial court, in the jury's presence, regarding the voluntariness of an incriminating statement sought to be introduced by the prosecution, violated respondent's constitutional rights. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Respondent had not objected to the procedure, and, after the evidence regarding voluntariness had been heard, the court had ruled the statement voluntary.

Held: Previous cases in this Court have not determined that voluntariness hearings must necessarily be held out of the jury's presence, and where, as here, respondent's counsel consented to the procedure used, and the judge found the statement voluntary, respondent was deprived of no constitutional right.

Certiorari granted; 374 F.2d 472, reversed and remanded.

Per curiam opinion.

PER CURIAM.

Respondent was indicted by the grand jury of Essex County, New Jersey, on July 2, 1959, for the crime of robbery while armed. Following a plea of not guilty, he was tried before a jury, convicted and sentenced to a term of from 16 to 23 years in the New Jersey State Prison. On June 6, 1966, respondent filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The District Judge determined from the transcript of respondent's trial that the trial court had heard in the presence of the jury testimony regarding the voluntariness of an incriminating statement sought to be introduced by the prosecution, held that, under prior decisions of this Court, this procedure violated respondent's constitutional rights and

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granted the writ. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed, and petitioner, the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Prison Farm, seeks a writ of certiorari.

The petition for certiorari is granted, and the judgment is reversed. This Court has never ruled that all voluntariness hearings must be held outside the presence of the jury, regardless of the circumstances. Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368 (1964), held that a defendant's constitutional rights...

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