Chambers v. Maroney

LOCATION: Symphony Cinema, Boston, Massachusetts

DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1970-1971)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 399 US 42 (1970)
ARGUED: Apr 27, 1970
DECIDED: Jun 22, 1970

Facts of the case


Media for Chambers v. Maroney

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 27, 1970 in Chambers v. Maroney

Warren E. Burger:

We'll hear argument in number 830, Chambers against Maroney.

Mr. Grogan, you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Vincent J. Grogan:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This kernel matter is before the Court on write of certiorari to the Court of appeals for the Third Circuit.

Constitutional questions presented are whether petitioner was denied effective assistance of counsel where he met his lawyer on the hallway on the way to the courtroom for trial on serious criminal charges.

It also involves the constitutional question of whether a warrantless search of an automobile in which the petitioner was a passenger which was made while he was in custody in a police station after the car had been moved from the scene of arrest to the police station and where there have been two previous searches of the same automobile.

It also involves the question of harmless error in connection with the admission into evidence of dumdum bullets which were illegally seized and then used to trial to connect petitioner with weapons that were found in the warrantless search of the car and also used to describe the severity of impact that could be made by such bullets two petitioner judgment.

The statement of -- the case in our brief is extensive. I'll try to summarize it more briefly for the Court.

It opens with the statement within the first week of September 1963, petitioner and three co-defendants were tried on fourth criminal charges.

I find now since the time of preparation in my brief and I've advised my opponent Ms. Los that the record of this trial has become available to me and that trial did not involve four criminal charges but rather two.

It appears that the indictment that was presented to the court and jury in that case involved solely the alleged robbery of the service station on May 28, 1963, and for reasons it will become apparent this is very important to our case.

I'd like to offer this to the Court at this time.

At the trial in early September 1963, petitioner was represented by a member of the Legal Aid Society of Pittsburgh.

The trial ended in a mistrial and withdrawal of a juror for reasons that are not explained in this record.

Later in September, on September 27, 1963 --

Potter Stewart:

Was that the trial of several co-defendants?

The first trial?

Vincent J. Grogan:

Yes, Your Honor all the defendants or four defendants were for each of those cases.

Petitioner was called again to trial this time he was again represented by member of Legal Aid Society of Pittsburgh.

It happened to be another lawyer not the one who represented him at the first trial.

He met his lawyer in the hallway on the way to the courtroom, there is no evidence in the record as to what discussions they were before that if any with his lawyer, they proceeded to trial --

Byron R. White:

What's the practice in the Pittsburgh when the legal aid group represents the defendant?

Is the -- there was an appointment here, wasn't it?

Was there an appointment or did he just --

Vincent J. Grogan:

Your Honor, the record isn't clear in that regard whether it was a specific appointment or not.

In other words, I cannot tell you whether there was an order of court entering an appearance or directing the Legal Aid Society to appear.

In further answer to your question as of now --

Byron R. White:

Well then, can you tell us or can't you when this gentleman that he met in the hallway first knew he was going to represent this man?

Vincent J. Grogan:

He first knew at that morning, Your Honor, apparently.

Byron R. White: