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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Miller
Samuel Williams v. New York
Citation:337 U.S. 241 (1949)
A jury convicted Williams (defendant) of first-degree murder and recommended a sentence of life imprisonment. At the sentencing hearing, the judge imposed the death sentence. In making his decision, the judge relied on the evidence upon which the jury had convicted Williams as well as additional information revealed during the pre-sentence investigation which would not have been admissible to the jury. This additional information included evidence that Williams had been involved in 30 other burglaries and other activities that led the judge to refer to him as a “menace to society.” Williams argued that the sentence violated due process because the defendant did not have a chance to confront or cross-examine the witnesses who provided the evidence upon which his sentence was based.
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