Ciucci v. State of Illinois, No. 157

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; DOUGLAS; BLACK
PartiesVincent CIUCCI, Sr., Petitioner, v. STATE OF ILLINOIS
Decision Date19 May 1958
Docket NumberNo. 157

356 U.S. 571
78 S.Ct. 839
2 L.Ed.2d 983
Vincent CIUCCI, Sr., Petitioner,

v.

STATE OF ILLINOIS.

No. 157.
Argued March 13, 1958.
Decided May 19, 1958.

Mr. George N. Leighton, Chicago, Ill., for the petitioner.

Page 572

Mr. William C. Wines, Chicago, Ill., for the respondent.

PER CURIAM.

Petitioner was charged in four separate indictments with murdering his wife and three children, all of whom, with bullet wounds in their heads, were found dead in a burning building during the early hours of December 5, 1953. In three successive trials, petitioner was found guilty of the first degree murder of his wife and two of his children. At each of the trials the prosecution introduced into evidence details of all four deaths. Under Illinois law the jury is charged with the responsibility of fixing the penalty for first degree murder from 14 years' imprisonment to death. Ill.Rev.Stat. 1957, c. 38, § 360. At the first two trials, involving the death of the wife and one of the children, the jury fixed the penalty at 20 and 45 years' imprisonment respectively. At the third trial, involving the death of a second child, the penalty was fixed at death. On appeal the Supreme Court of Illinois affirmed the conviction, 8 Ill.2d 619, 137 N.E.2d 40, and we granted certiorari to consider petitioner's claim that this third trial violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. 353 U.S. 982, 77 S.Ct. 1286, 1 L.Ed.2d 1141.

It is conceded that under Illinois law each of the murders, although apparently taking place at the same time, constituted a separate crime and it is undisputed that evidence of the entire occurrence was relevant in each of the three prosecutions. In his brief in this Court petitioner has appended a number of articles which had appeared in Chicago newspapers after the first and second trials attributing to the prosecution certain statements expressing extreme dissatisfaction with the prison sen-

Page 573

tences fixed by the jury and announcing a determined purpose to prosecute petitioner until a death sentence was obtained. Neither these articles nor their subject matter is included in the record certified to this Court from the Supreme Court of Illinois.

The five members of the Court who join in this opinion are in agreement that upon the record as it stands no violation of due process has been shown. The State was constitutionally entitled to prosecute these individual offenses singly at separate trials, and to utilize therein all relevant evidence, in the absence of proof establishing that such a course of action entailed fundamental unfairness. Hoag v. New Jersey, 356 U.S. 464, 78 S.Ct. 829; see Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 328, 58 S.Ct. 149, 153, 82 L.Ed. 288. Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER and Mr. Justice HARLAN, although believing that the matters set forth in the aforementioned newspaper articles...

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108 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Director of Ill. Dept. of Corrections, No. 95 C 3913.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • May 2, 1997
    ...a poker game, after the defendant was acquitted in the trial involving the first victim. The closest decided case is Ciucci v. Illinois, 356 U.S. 571, 78 S.Ct. 839, 2 L.Ed.2d 983 (1958), which involved a man who murdered his wife and four children in the same incident and was tried seriatim......
  • People v. Carpenter, No. S006547.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • November 29, 1999
    ...was presented in each trial, defendant contends the successive prosecution violated due process. It did not. (Ciucci v. Illinois (1958) 356 U.S. 571, 78 S.Ct. 839, 2 L.Ed.2d 983; People v. McLain (1988) 46 Cal.3d 97, 121, fn. 6, 249 Cal.Rptr. 630, 757 P.2d 569.) We also disagree that trying......
  • Fuller v. United States, No. 19532.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • November 20, 1967
    ...903, 19 L. Ed.2d 1040 (1968); Hoag v. State of New Jersey, 356 U.S. 464, 78 S.Ct. 829, 2 L. Ed.2d 913 (1958); Ciucci v. State of Illinois, 356 U.S. 571, 78 S.Ct. 839, 2 L.Ed. 2d 983 (1958); see also Abbate v. United States, supra note 44 Downum v. United States, supra note 26, but cf. Unite......
  • North Carolina v. Pearce Simpson v. Rice, Nos. 413 and 418
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 23, 1969
    ...with repeated trials and convictions on the same evidence, until it achieves its desired result of a capital verdict.' Ciucci v. Illinois, 356 U.S. 571, 573, 78 S.Ct. 839, 840, 2 L.Ed.2d 983 (Douglas, J., dissenting). It is the latter purpose which is relevant here, for in these cases the C......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
107 cases
  • U.S. v. Director of Ill. Dept. of Corrections, No. 95 C 3913.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • May 2, 1997
    ...a poker game, after the defendant was acquitted in the trial involving the first victim. The closest decided case is Ciucci v. Illinois, 356 U.S. 571, 78 S.Ct. 839, 2 L.Ed.2d 983 (1958), which involved a man who murdered his wife and four children in the same incident and was tried seriatim......
  • People v. Carpenter, No. S006547.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • November 29, 1999
    ...was presented in each trial, defendant contends the successive prosecution violated due process. It did not. (Ciucci v. Illinois (1958) 356 U.S. 571, 78 S.Ct. 839, 2 L.Ed.2d 983; People v. McLain (1988) 46 Cal.3d 97, 121, fn. 6, 249 Cal.Rptr. 630, 757 P.2d 569.) We also disagree that trying......
  • Fuller v. United States, No. 19532.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • November 20, 1967
    ...903, 19 L. Ed.2d 1040 (1968); Hoag v. State of New Jersey, 356 U.S. 464, 78 S.Ct. 829, 2 L. Ed.2d 913 (1958); Ciucci v. State of Illinois, 356 U.S. 571, 78 S.Ct. 839, 2 L.Ed. 2d 983 (1958); see also Abbate v. United States, supra note 44 Downum v. United States, supra note 26, but cf. Unite......
  • North Carolina v. Pearce Simpson v. Rice, Nos. 413 and 418
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 23, 1969
    ...with repeated trials and convictions on the same evidence, until it achieves its desired result of a capital verdict.' Ciucci v. Illinois, 356 U.S. 571, 573, 78 S.Ct. 839, 840, 2 L.Ed.2d 983 (Douglas, J., dissenting). It is the latter purpose which is relevant here, for in these cases the C......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Supreme Court Behavior and Civil Rights
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 13-2, June 1960
    • June 1, 1960
    ...357 U.S. 214 (1958); Lambert v. California, 355 U.S. 225 (1957); Staub v. City ofBaxley, 355 U.S. 313 (1958); Ciucci v. Illinois, 356 U.S. 571 (1958); Hoag v. New Jersey,356 U.S. 464 (1958); Thomas v. Arizona, 356 U.S. 390 (1958); Payne v. Arkansas, 356 U.S.560 (1958); Alcorta v. Texas, 355......

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