Turner v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 107

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFRANKFURTER; On the record before us and in view of the consideration given to the evidence by the state courts and the conclus on reached, The CHIEF JUSTICE
Citation93 L.Ed. 1810,69 S.Ct. 1352,338 U.S. 62
Decision Date27 June 1949
Docket NumberNo. 107
PartiesTURNER v. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

338 U.S. 62
69 S.Ct. 1352
93 L.Ed. 1810
TURNER

v.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA.

No. 107.
Argued Nov. 16, 17, 1948.
Decided June 27, 1949.
Mandate Conformed to Aug. 4, 1949.

See 67 A.2d 441.

Mr. Edwin P. Rome, Philadelphia, Pa., for petitioner.

Mr. Colbert C. McClain, Philadelphia, Pa., for respondent.

Page 63

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER, announced the judgment of the Court and an opinion in which Mr. Justice MURPHY and Mr. Justice RUTLEDGE join.

Our ruling in Watts v. State of Indiana, 338 U.S. 49, 69 S.Ct. 1347, is decisive of the present case. It is also a capital case in which the petitioner claims that his conviction for first-degree murder resulted from the use of incriminatory statements obtained under circumstances which should have barred their admission. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in affirming the conviction, rejected this claim. 358 Pa. 350, 58 A.2d 61. We brought the case here to measure against the requirements of due process the circumstances giving rise to the claim. 334 U.S. 858, 68 S.Ct. 1521, 92 L.Ed. 1778. Again we take conflicts of testimony as they were resolved by the State's adjudication.

For six months the Philadelphia police had been investigating the felonious death of one Frank Andres. At 10:30 in the morning of June 3, 1946, they arrested Aaron Turner, the petitioner, on suspicion of the homicide and took him to the office of the Homicide Division at the City Hall Building. The officers making the arrest had no warrant and did not tell the petitioner why he was being a rested. These officers began to question the petitioner as soon as they reached the City Hall police station. One of them examined the petitioner for three hours on that afternoon and again that night from eight to eleven o'clock. From time to time other officers joined in the interrogation. Petitioners persistently denied any knowledge of the murder.

The next morning, June 4, the petitioner was booked on the police records as being held for questioning. Later that day he was questioned for about four hours more. On June 5 he was interrogated for another four hours and on the 6th for day and night sessions totaling six hours. The questioning was conducted sometimes by one officer and at other times by several working together; it appears,

Page 64

in fact, that whenever one of the police officers interested in the investigation had any free time he would have the petitioner brought from his cell for questioning.

On June 7, the day when a confession was finally obtained, questioning began in the afternoon and continued for three hours. Later that day the officers who had been present during the afternoon returned with others to resume the examination of petitioner. Despite the fact that he was falsely told that other suspects had 'opened up' on him, petitioner repeatedly denied guilt. But finally, at about eleven o'clock, petitioner stated that he had killed the person for whose murder he was later arraigned. At nine o'clock the following morning the same police officers stated to reduce his statement to writing, interrupted this process to bring him for a preliminary hearing before a magistrate sitting in the same building, and returned to the transcript of his statement which was completed by about noon.

The petitioner was not permitted to see friends or relatives during the entire period of custody; he was not informed of his right to remain silent until after he had been under the pressure of a long process of interrogation and had actually yielded to it. With commendable candor the district attorney admitted that a hearing was withheld until interrogation had produced confession. The delay of five days thus accounted for was in violation of a Pennsylvania statute which requires that arrested persons be given a prompt preliminary hearing.

At the trial, petitioner objected to the introduction of his statement on the ground that it was the product of police conduct of a...

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205 practice notes
  • Miller v. Fenton, No. 83-5530
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 28 Septiembre 1984
    ...The Court's 1949 trilogy of confession cases, Watts v. Indiana, 338 U.S. 49, 69 S.Ct. 1347, 93 L.Ed. 1801 (1949); Turner v. Pennsylvania, 338 U.S. 62, 69 S.Ct. 1352, 93 L.Ed. 1810 (1949); Harris v. South Carolina, 338 U.S. 68, 69 S.Ct. 1354, 93 L.Ed. 1815 (1949), state the doctrine On revie......
  • State v. Haynes, No. 34735
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • 14 Septiembre 1961
    ...of course, is not precluded from attempting to show that the confession was, in fact, voluntary. See Turner v. Com. of Pennsylvania, 338 U.S. 62, 69 S.Ct. 1352, 93 L.Ed. 1810. However, as the record now stands, the burden of proof is upon the state, and that burden is a heavy one, for the s......
  • State v. Stoddard, No. 12989
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 2 Febrero 1988
    ...of the state [206 Conn. 181] to prosecute crime as "a necessary price to pay for the fairness we know as 'due process of law.' " Id., 338 U.S. at 62, 69 S.Ct. at 1359. Miranda represents a compromise between the need of the state for effective interrogation of a suspect to solve a crime and......
  • Anderson v. Johnson, No. 16533.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 22 Diciembre 1966
    ...1341-1342 (1963); Culombe v. Connecticut, 367 U.S. 568, 610 81 S.Ct. 1860, 6 L.Ed.2d 1037 (1961); Turner v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 338 U.S. 62, 64 69 S. Ct. 1352, 93 L.Ed. 1810 (1949). See also Gallegos v. State of Colorado, 370 U.S. 49, 54, 55 82 S.Ct. 1209, 8 L. Ed.2d 325 (1962). T......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
205 cases
  • Miller v. Fenton, No. 83-5530
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 28 Septiembre 1984
    ...The Court's 1949 trilogy of confession cases, Watts v. Indiana, 338 U.S. 49, 69 S.Ct. 1347, 93 L.Ed. 1801 (1949); Turner v. Pennsylvania, 338 U.S. 62, 69 S.Ct. 1352, 93 L.Ed. 1810 (1949); Harris v. South Carolina, 338 U.S. 68, 69 S.Ct. 1354, 93 L.Ed. 1815 (1949), state the doctrine On revie......
  • State v. Haynes, No. 34735
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • 14 Septiembre 1961
    ...of course, is not precluded from attempting to show that the confession was, in fact, voluntary. See Turner v. Com. of Pennsylvania, 338 U.S. 62, 69 S.Ct. 1352, 93 L.Ed. 1810. However, as the record now stands, the burden of proof is upon the state, and that burden is a heavy one, for the s......
  • State v. Stoddard, No. 12989
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 2 Febrero 1988
    ...of the state [206 Conn. 181] to prosecute crime as "a necessary price to pay for the fairness we know as 'due process of law.' " Id., 338 U.S. at 62, 69 S.Ct. at 1359. Miranda represents a compromise between the need of the state for effective interrogation of a suspect to solve a crime and......
  • Anderson v. Johnson, No. 16533.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 22 Diciembre 1966
    ...1341-1342 (1963); Culombe v. Connecticut, 367 U.S. 568, 610 81 S.Ct. 1860, 6 L.Ed.2d 1037 (1961); Turner v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 338 U.S. 62, 64 69 S. Ct. 1352, 93 L.Ed. 1810 (1949). See also Gallegos v. State of Colorado, 370 U.S. 49, 54, 55 82 S.Ct. 1209, 8 L. Ed.2d 325 (1962). T......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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