Giglio v. United States Case Brief

Facts of the Case

Defendant Giglio appealed a judgment from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirming the district court’s denial of his motion for a new trial following a conviction for passing forged money orders. At trial, defense counsel asked a witness on cross-examination if any promises of leniency had been made, and the witness falsely answered no. The prosecution represented that no such promises had been made. Upon learning that a promise not to prosecute the witness had in fact been made, defendant moved for a new trial based upon the newly discovered evidence. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the motion.




Yes. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, writing for a unanimous court, reversed the conviction and remanded the case for a new trial. The Supreme Court held that evidence of the agreement was relevant to the witness’ credibility. Because the new evidence affected the witness’ credibility and the prosecution’s case rested almost entirely on this witness’ testimony, the original trial violated due process and entitled Giglio to a new trial. Justice Lewis F. Powell and Justice William H. Rehnquist did not participate.

Case Information

Citation: 405 US 150 (1972)
Argued: Oct 12, 1971
Decided: Feb 24, 1972
Granted: Mar 1, 1971
Case Brief: 1972