Giles v. Maryland

LOCATION: Berheldt Residence

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1965-1967)

CITATION: 386 US 66 (1967)
ARGUED: Oct 12, 1966
DECIDED: Feb 20, 1967

Facts of the case


Media for Giles v. Maryland

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 12, 1966 in Giles v. Maryland

Earl Warren:

James B. Giles et. al, petitioner versus Maryland.

Mr. Forer?

Joseph Forer:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case arose as a proceeding under the Maryland Post-Conviction Procedure Act which is a statutory substitute for habeas corpus and coram nobis.

The petitioners who were serving life sentences and are serving life sentences following the commutation of death sentences challenged their conviction for rape under the Act on constitutional grounds.

The first question that I will argue is whether the conviction of the petitioners was obtained in violation of due process by reason of the prosecution suppression of material evidence favorable to the accused.

And for that purpose, I must first give you a condensed summary of the evidence which came out at the petitioner's criminal trial.

The petitioners are brothers.

On the night of July 20, 1961, they were swimming and fishing in the Patuxent River near their home.

As they left the river with the companion Joseph Johnson, they encountered 500 feet from the river in deep woods an automobile.

In that automobile were two people, a 16-year old girl named Joyce, and a 21-year old man Stewart Foster.

Potter Stewart:

What time of the night was it?

Joseph Forer:

This was late at night close to midnight.

An altercation started at the car between the Giles brothers and Johnson on the one hand and Stewart Foster on the other.

The testimony is in conflict as to what caused the altercation and who provoked it and for present purposes, I'd not go into that.

But very early in the altercation, at the time when James Giles and Johnson threw some stones at the car, Joyce ran out of the car and into the woods along the side of the dark road.

According to her testimony, she ran a distance of 30 feet at which point she stopped because she said she was out of breathe and she had fallen.

John Giles soon afterwards left the car while the altercation was still going on to come back into the woods and came upon Joyce.

The two of them were together there for approximately 10 or 15 minutes during which time they had some conversation.

Joyce herself testified that she was the first person to introduce the subject of sex.

In that she offered John Giles to have intercourse with him if he would help her get away.

John Giles also testified to that offer.

But he gave it a little more body, he testified that she also explained to him that she was on probation and couldn't afford to get caught in the woods and didn't want to get in any trouble and for that reason she was anxious that he help her get away.

After they have been quietly in the woods together for a while.

The altercation of the car ended when Stewart Foster was knocked out and then ran off.

The other two young Negroes, Joseph Johnson and James Giles, came into the woods along the same path and they came upon John Giles and Joyce.

At this point, there's a very serious cleavage in the testimony.

Joyce testified that the three men were there and that each one of the three they're after having intercourse with her.

She testified that she did not resist, she testified that she made no outcry, she also testified that she made no remonstrance.

She didn't even say to them, “Please let me alone.”