Johnson v. State of New Jersey, No. 762

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCLARK; Mr. Justice HARLAN; BLACK
Citation16 L.Ed.2d 882,86 S.Ct. 1772,384 U.S. 719
PartiesSylvester JOHNSON and Stanley Cassidy, Petitioners, v. STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Decision Date20 June 1966
Docket NumberNo. 762

384 U.S. 719
86 S.Ct. 1772
16 L.Ed.2d 882
Sylvester JOHNSON and Stanley Cassidy, Petitioners,

v.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY.

No. 762.
Argued March 1 and 2, 1966.
Decided June 20, 1966.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 10, 1966.

See 87 S.Ct. 12.

[Syllabus from pages 719-720 intentionally omitted]

Page 720

Stanford Shmukler, Philadelphia, Pa., M. Gene Haeberle, Camden, N.J., for petitioners.

Norman Heine, Camden, N.J., for respondent.

[Amicus Curiae from pages 720-721 intentionally omitted]

Page 721

Duane R. Nedrud, for National District Attorneys Ass'n, amicus curiae, by special leave of Court. (Also in Nos. 759, 760 and 584)

Opinion of the Court by Mr. Chief Justice WARREN, announced by Mr. Justice BRENNAN.

In this case we are called upon to determine whether Escobedo v. State of Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977 (1964), and Miranda v. State of Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, should be applied retroactively. We hold that Escobedo affects only those cases in which the trial began after June 22, 1964, the date of that decision. We hold further that Miranda applies only to cases in which the trial began after the date of our decision one week ago. The convictions assailed here were obtained at trials completed long before Escobedo and Miranda were rendered, and the rulings in those cases are therefore inapplicable to the present proceeding. Petitioners have also asked us to overturn their convictions on a number of other grounds, but we find these contentions to be without merit, and consequently we affirm the decision below.

Petitioner Cassidy was taken into custody in Camden, New Jersey, at 4 a.m. on January 29, 1958, for felony murder. The police took him to detective headquarters and interrogated him in a systematic fashion for several hours. At 9 a.m. he was brought before the chief detective, two other police officers, and a court stenographer.

Page 722

The chief detective introduced the persons present, informed Cassidy of the possible charges against him, gave him the warning set forth in the margin,1 concluded that he understood the warning, and obtained his consent to be questioned. Cassidy was then interrogated until 10:25 a.m. and made a partial confession to felony murder. The stenographer recorded this interrogation and read it back to Cassidy for his acknowledgment. Police officers then took him to another part of the building and apparently questioned him further. At 12:15 p.m. he was brought back to the chief detective's office for another half hour of recorded interrogation. Under circumstances similar to those already described, Cassidy amended his confession to add vital incriminating details. For the next 11 hours he was held in a detention room and may have been subjected to further questioning. At 11:40 p.m. the police returned him to the chief detective's office for a final brief round of recorded interrogation. Taken together, Cassidy's three formal statements added up to a complete confession of felony murder, and they were later introduced against him at his trial for that crime.

While the present collateral proceeding was pending following our decision in Escobedo, Cassidy filed affidavits in the New Jersey Supreme Court which detailed for the first time certain supposed circumstances of his confession. In his own affidavit, he claimed that on at least five separate occasions during his interrogation, he asked for permission to consult a lawyer or to contact relatives. The police allegedly either ignored these re-

Page 723

quests or told him that he could not communicate with others until his statement was completed. Cassidy also produced affidavits from his mother, his uncle, and his aunt, claiming that during this period they called the detective headquarters at least three times and once appeared there in person, seeking information about Cassidy and an opportunity to speak with him. Their efforts allegedly were thwarted by police. These belated claims were left uncontroverted by the State and were accepted as true by the court below for purposes of the Escobedo issue.

The police took petitioner Johnson into custody in Newark, New Jersey, at 5 p.m. on January 29, 1958, for the same crime as Cassidy. He was taken to detective headquarters and was booked. Later in the evening the police brought him before a magistrate for a brief preliminary hearing. The record is unclear as to what transpired there. Both before and after the appearance in court, he was questioned in a routine manner. At 2 a.m. the police drove Johnson by auto to Camden, the scene of the homicide, 80 miles from Newark. During the auto ride he was again interrogated about the crime. Upon arrival in Camden at about 4:30 a.m., the police took him directly to detective headquarters and brought him before the chief detective, three other police officers, and a court stenographer. As in Cassidy's case, Johnson was introduced to the persons present, informed of the possible charges against him, and given the same warning already set forth. He stated that he understood the warning and was willing to be questioned under those conditions. The police then interrogated him until 6:20 a.m., a period of about one and one-half hours. During the course of the questioning, he made a full confession to the crime of felony murder. This interrogation was recorded by the stenographer and read back to Johnson for his acknowledgment.

Page 724

Like Cassidy, Johnson filed affidavits in the New Jersey Supreme Court in this collateral proceeding following our decision in Escobedo, detailing for the first time certain supposed circumstances of his confession. In his own affidavit, he claimed that at four separate points during the period described above, he asked for permission to consult a lawyer or to contact relatives so that they could obtain a lawyer for him. As in Cassidy's case, the police allegedly either ignored these requests or told him that he could not communicate with others until he had given a statement. Johnson also produced affidavits from his mother and his girl friend, claiming that on three occasions after the homicide and prior to the confession, they called detective headquarters or went there in person, seeking information about Johnson and an opportunity to speak with him. Their efforts allegedly were rebuffed by the police. These belated claims, like Cassidy's, were left uncontroverted by the State and were accepted as true by the court below for resolution of the Escobedo issue.

The confessions of Johnson and Cassidy were offered in evidence by the State at their joint trial for felony murder. The judge held a hearing out of the presence of the jury on the voluntariness of the confessions. Petitioners made no effort to rebut the testimony adduced by the State relating to this issue. The judge found the confessions voluntary and admitted them into evidence. Petitioners then expressly relinquished their right under state law to have the issue of voluntariness, and the accompanying evidence, submitted to the jury for redetermination.2 They did not introduce any testimony to dispute the correctness of their confessions.

Page 725

In summation at the close of trial, defense counsel explicitly asserted that the confessions were truthful and pleaded for leniency on this ground. Cassidy's lawyer stated to the jury:

'Whatever is in this statement made by Stanley Cassidy is true. I know it is true. * * * (M)y reason for knowing that it is true is because of the meetings and consultations I have had with Stanley. We have been over this many, many times.

'I know it is true because I know Chief Dube, and Chief Dube is a fine interrogator. If you do not answer truthfully, believe me, he will question you until he does get the truth, and Chief Dube got the truth.'

Likewise Johnson's lawyer told the jury:

'The statement of Johnson was truthful and honest, because when that was finished, that was the end of it.

'There were no threats. There was no attempt to evade. There was no trickery. Anything that Chief Dube asked him he answered honestly and truthfully.'

The jury found Johnson and Cassidy guilty of murder in the first degree without recommendation of mercy, and they were sentenced to death.3

Page 726

The convictions of Johnson and Cassidy became final six years ago, when the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed them upon direct appeal4 and the time expired for petitioners to seek certiorari from the decision. There followed a battery of collateral attacks in state and federal courts based on new factual allegations, in which petitioners repeatedly and unsuccessfully assailed the voluntariness of their confessions.5 This proceeding arises out of still another application for post-conviction relief, accompanied by a fresh set of factual allegations, in which petitioners have argued in part that their confessions were inadmissible under the principles of Escobedo. The court below rejected the claim, holding that Escobedo did not affect convictions which had become final prior to the date of that decision,6 and it is this holding which we are principally called upon to review. In view of the standards announced one week ago concerning the warnings which must be given prior to in-custody interrogation, this case also obliges us to determine whether Miranda should be accorded retroactive application.

In the past year we have twice dealt with the problem of retroactivity in connection with other constitutional rules of criminal procedure. Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 85 S.Ct. 1731, 14 L.Ed.2d 601 (1965); Tehan v. United States ex rel. Shott, 382 U.S. 406, 86 S.Ct. 459, 15 L.Ed.2d 453 (1966). These cases establish the principle that in criminal litigation concerning constitutional claims, 'the Court may in the interest of justice make the rule prospective * * *

Page 727

where the exigencies of the situation require such an...

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2473 practice notes
  • Davis v. Burke, No. 16728.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 2, 1969
    ...prior to Miranda v. Arizona, 1966, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, which is not here applicable, Johnson v. New Jersey, 1966, 384 U.S. 719, 86 S.Ct. 1772, 16 L.Ed.2d The petitioner lays great stress on Detective Schneider's statement on examination by the Trial Judge: I don\'t ......
  • Davis v. U.S., No. 09-11328
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 16, 2011
    ...at 639-640. The next year, we extended Linkletter to retroactivity determinations in cases on direct review. See Johnson v. New Jersey, 384 U. S. 719, 733 (1966) (holding that Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436 (1966), and Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U. S. 478 (1964), applied retroactively onl......
  • Pope v. United States, No. 18272.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • March 14, 1967
    ...before Miranda. As everyone knows by now, Escobedo and Miranda are not retrospective in their application. Johnson v. State of New Jersey, 384 U.S. 719, 733-735, 86 S.Ct. 1772, 16 L.Ed.2d 882 (1966). Each applies only to the case where the trial begins after the decision was announced. Acco......
  • State v. Blanchard, No. 2631
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • November 16, 1967
    ...certiorari denied 379 U.S. 1005, 85 S.Ct. 731, 13 L.Ed.2d 706 (1965); State v. Johnson, 43 N.J. 572, 206 A.2d 737 (1965), affirmed, 384 U.S. 719, 86 S.Ct. 1772, 16 L.Ed.2d 882 As was observed in State v. Brown, 41 N.J. 590, 198 A.2d 441 (1964), certiorari denied 377 U.S. 981, 84 S.Ct. 1888,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2472 cases
  • Davis v. Burke, No. 16728.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 2, 1969
    ...prior to Miranda v. Arizona, 1966, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, which is not here applicable, Johnson v. New Jersey, 1966, 384 U.S. 719, 86 S.Ct. 1772, 16 L.Ed.2d The petitioner lays great stress on Detective Schneider's statement on examination by the Trial Judge: I don\'t ......
  • Davis v. U.S., No. 09-11328
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 16, 2011
    ...at 639-640. The next year, we extended Linkletter to retroactivity determinations in cases on direct review. See Johnson v. New Jersey, 384 U. S. 719, 733 (1966) (holding that Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436 (1966), and Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U. S. 478 (1964), applied retroactively onl......
  • Pope v. United States, No. 18272.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • March 14, 1967
    ...before Miranda. As everyone knows by now, Escobedo and Miranda are not retrospective in their application. Johnson v. State of New Jersey, 384 U.S. 719, 733-735, 86 S.Ct. 1772, 16 L.Ed.2d 882 (1966). Each applies only to the case where the trial begins after the decision was announced. Acco......
  • State v. Blanchard, No. 2631
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • November 16, 1967
    ...certiorari denied 379 U.S. 1005, 85 S.Ct. 731, 13 L.Ed.2d 706 (1965); State v. Johnson, 43 N.J. 572, 206 A.2d 737 (1965), affirmed, 384 U.S. 719, 86 S.Ct. 1772, 16 L.Ed.2d 882 As was observed in State v. Brown, 41 N.J. 590, 198 A.2d 441 (1964), certiorari denied 377 U.S. 981, 84 S.Ct. 1888,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The Supreme Court of the United States, 1965-1966
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 19-4, December 1966
    • December 1, 1966
    ...discriminating treatment bylegislative or rule-making pronouncements.&dquo; (P. 545.) In a companion case, Johnson v. State of New Jersey (384 U.S. 719; 86 1772) the Court had before it the question of the retrospective application of the Miranda decision of this term and the Escobedo decis......

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