Bullock v. South Carolina

RESPONDENT: South Carolina
LOCATION: Trailways Bus Terminal

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 365 US 292 (1961)
ARGUED: Jan 09, 1961
DECIDED: Feb 20, 1961

Facts of the case


Media for Bullock v. South Carolina

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 09, 1961 (Part 1) in Bullock v. South Carolina

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 09, 1961 (Part 2) in Bullock v. South Carolina

Earl Warren:

Mr. Kilgo, you may continue with your argument.

Robert L. Kilgo:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

At the time of the recess, we were discussing the prior decisions of this Court on related questions.

We were discussing the case of Mcnabb versus -- versus the United States, merely states, as the Court so well knows that that case involved -- involved Rule 5 (a) of the Federal Rules of Procedure and this Court has held that of course your interpretation of the circumstances where the Rule 5 of the federal rules that's involved is entirely different from a case such as the other -- as this tried in the state courts.

And you did hold in that case, however, that the mere fact of the confession was made while in the custody of police, does not render inadmissible.

Now, in 1948 in Haley versus Ohio, the conviction of robbery and murder and the state court was reversed in five, four decision where the voluntariness of the confession was attacked.

In that case, the petitioner was arrested at his home at midnight.

He was a 15-year-old boy.

He was questioned from midnight to dawn.

No one was allowed to see him.

He was held incommunicado from Saturday until -- until Tuesday.

His lawyer, attorney was denied the right to see him on request.

His mother requested to see him and was denied.

You reversed that court and held that his confession was, as a matter of law, not voluntary.

In Watts against Indiana decided in 1949, the case was reversed six-three.

A confession was involved in the case.

The same grounds were raised as it raised in presents -- present case.

The defendant there or petitioner was questioned day after day for several days as late in the morning as 2:30 a.m. one day, 3 o'clock a.m. another day, all day long another day from 6 p.m. until 3 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday when his confession was obtained.

You had long and extended periods of question and into the late hours 3 a.m. -- late hours of the night in that case on six-three decision was re -- reversed.

Now, this Court held in that case, however, that in considering these confessions where a jury has decided the case and heard all the facts and reached this decision at this Court and considering whether or not that confession is voluntary, will deal only with uncontradicted facts.

Now, Turner against Pennsylvania was decided in 1949.

That was a murder case.

A confession was obtained from the petitioner.

He was questioned three or four hours on the first afternoon, then 8 until 11 that evening, questioned the next day, five hours, the next day, four days -- four hours, the next day, six hours and his questioning on the last day ended at 11 p.m. and resulted in a confession.

He was not permitted to see friends, all relatives during the entire period of custody.

In addition, the trial judge on that case refused to charge upon request -- refused to charge the jury that they could consider the long period of interrogation in determining whether or not the confession was voluntary.

Now, Harris against South Carolina, another reversal, decided in 1949 without pouring the Court the details, I know the Court is familiar with it.

You had there again long continuous questioning many days on a row and a threat on the part of the officers to the accused that his mother would be arrested if he did not confess.

And as a result of that threat, he confessed.

The Gallegos against Nebraska was a case that was affirmed six-three, 1951.