Criminal Procedure keyed to Weinreb
Brown v. Mississippi
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The Petitioners were indicted for a murder that occurred on March 30, 1934. The Petitioners were indicted on April 4, 1934, arraigned thereafter and then pleaded not guilty. The Petitioners were found guilty after a trial solely on the basis of their confessions. During the trial, the Petitioners testified that the confessions were untrue and procured after physical torture. The Petitioners appealed to the Supreme Court of Mississippi arguing that their Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. The Supreme Court of Mississippi affirmed the trial court’s judgment. The Mississippi Supreme Court concluded “(1) that immunity from self- incrimination is not essential to due process of law; and (2) that the failure of the trial court to exclude the confessions after the introduction of evidence showing their incompetency, in the absence of a request for such exclusion, did not deprive the defendants of life or liberty without due process of law; and that even if the trial court had erroneously overruled a motion to exclude the confessions, the ruling would have been mere error reversible on appeal, but not a violation of constitution right.” The state’s highest court also observed “[a]fter the state closed its case on the merits, the appellants, for the first time, introduced evidence from which it appears that the confessions were not made voluntarily but were coerced.”
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