Hadley v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: City Council of Hialeah

DOCKET NO.: 91-6646
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1991-1993)

CITATION: 506 US 19 (1992)
ARGUED: Nov 04, 1992
DECIDED: Nov 16, 1992

John Trebon - on behalf of the Petitioner
William C. Bryson - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Hadley v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 04, 1992 in Hadley v. United States

William H. Rehnquist:

We'll hear argument now in Number 91-6646, Verl Hadley v. the United States.

Mr. Trebon.

Is it Trebon, or Trebon?

John Trebon:


William H. Rehnquist:


Mr. Trebon.

John Trebon:

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

The question in this case is whether or not the courts below correctly applied Rules 404(b) and 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence in order to assure a fair trial below.

More specifically, if the issue of intent is not a disputed issue at trial, and the defense offers a genuine, judicial admission on the issue of intent, should the prosecution be allowed to admit overwhelming amounts of uncharged misconduct evidence under the ruse of proving the marginal statutory issue of intent, and secondly, should the prosecution be allowed to ambush the accused with eleventh-hour prior bad conduct evidence?

Let me highlight some of the facts in this case.

Mr. Hadley was a teacher in Chilchinbeto, Arizona, a rural area on the Navajo Indian Reservation.

He had never previously been convicted of any crimes whatsoever.

This was his first trial.

During a parallel investigation in Chilchinbeto involving another teacher, it came to the attention of FBI agents that Mr. Hadley may have a tendency to be a homosexual.

As a result, the FBI interviewed all sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in Chilchinbeto... over 75 students... and asked them specifically about Mr. Hadley.

There were no identified victims, and Mr. Hadley was not known to be a suspect before any of these interviews commenced.

During the same time, during the pendency of this case, there were congressional hearings regarding what was perceived as an epidemic of child molestation on the Navajo Indian Reservation.

The victims in this case, besides Cory K., who testified as a prior bad act witness, never mentioned that Mr. Hadley had touched or molested them to anyone else other than the FBI either before or after the interviews.

During the FBI interviews, many students at trial testified that the FBI told them that they knew that Mr. Hadley had touched other students and they were only interested to find out if he had touched them, too.

They were told that they couldn't leave the room unless and until they told them what Mr. Hadley had done with them.

They testified that they were afraid of the FBI.

Many witnesses testified that the FBI told them that we can charge you with perjury if you don't tell us the truth.

There were no adults, other than the FBI agents, present when the children were interviewed.

It was a very, we think, coercive environment.

Several students during trial testified that they had been forced by the FBI to make up stories about Verl Hadley.

Indeed, one of the victims in the case--

William H. Rehnquist:

Mr. Trebon, how does this bear on the questions presented here, which seem to deal mostly with Rule 403?

John Trebon:

--That's true.

What I'm trying to show in this case, that there were genuine disputes about what occurred in this particular case, and the problem with 404(b) evidence is that it tends to draw the attention of the jurors away from the facts in dispute in this case, and tend to paint the defendant as a bad person or show that he has a predisposition for committing these types of offenses, and in this case that's exactly what it did.

The prior bad act evidence was absolutely overwhelming.