389 U.S. 413 (1967), 14, Brooks v. Florida

Docket Nº:No. 14, Misc.
Citation:389 U.S. 413, 88 S.Ct. 541, 19 L.Ed.2d 643
Party Name:Brooks v. Florida
Case Date:December 18, 1967
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 413

389 U.S. 413 (1967)

88 S.Ct. 541, 19 L.Ed.2d 643

Brooks

v.

Florida

No. 14, Misc.

United States Supreme Court

Dec. 18, 1967

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE DISTRICT COURT

OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, FIRST DISTRICT

Syllabus

Confession given to investigating officer by petitioner, a prisoner, after petitioner was held two weeks under barbaric conditions in "sweatbox" punishment cell held involuntary and its use to convict him of prison rioting unconstitutional.

Certiorari granted; reversed.

Per curiam opinion.

PER CURIAM.

Petitioner, Bennie Brooks, was convicted of participating in a riot in the Florida prison where he was an inmate and was sentenced to a term of nine years and eight months to run consecutively with the sentence he was already serving. His conviction was affirmed without opinion by the Florida District Court of Appeal, First District, and his petition for writ of certiorari filed in the Florida Supreme Court was dismissed, also without opinion.

The disturbance in the prison occurred on May 27, 1965. The same day, Brooks was ordered confined in a punishment cell for 35 days with two other prisoners also accused of the rioting. Brooks says the cell was 7 feet long and 6 1/2 feet wide; a witness for the State testified it was 6 feet longer. This minor difference aside, the parties agree that the punishment cell had no external window, that it contained no bed or other furnishings or [88 S.Ct. 542] facilities except a hole flush with the floor which served as a commode, and that, during the first 14 days

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he lived in this cell Brooks' only contact with the outside was an unspecified number of interviews with the prison's investigating officer. It is also agreed that, while so confined, Brooks was fed a "restricted diet" consisting, according to the testimony of the investigating officer, of "peas and carrots in a soup form" three times daily. Brooks' more detailed description of this concoction -- "they fed us four ounces of soup three times a day and eight ounces of water" -- was not controverted, nor was his testimony that he was stripped naked before being thrown into the cell. On the 15th day of confinement under these conditions, Brooks was taken from the punishment cell and again brought directly to the investigating officer. This time, shortly after questioning began, Brooks confessed and dictated...

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