RESPONDENT: New York
LOCATION: Florida State Hospital
DOCKET NO.: 73-6587
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court
CITATION: 422 US 853 (1975)
ARGUED: Feb 26, 1975
DECIDED: Jun 30, 1975
Diana A. Steele - for appellant
Gabriel I. Levy -
Norman C. Morse -
Facts of the case
Media for Herring v. New YorkAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 26, 1975 in Herring v. New York
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 30, 1975 in Herring v. New York
The second case in which I am authorized to announce the judgment and opinion this morning is the case of Herring versus New York which is here on appeal from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York of the Second Judicial Department.
A New York law confers upon every judge in a nonjury criminal trial the power to deny counsel any opportunity to make a summation of the evidence before the rendition of judgment.
In the case before us, we are called upon to assess the constitutional validity of that law.
The appellant, Clifford Herring, was brought to trial in the Supreme Court of Richmond County, New York upon charges of attempted robbery in the first and third degrees and possession of a dangerous instrument.
He waived a jury.
At the conclusion of the case for the prosecution and the defense, the appellant's lawyer requested to ?be heard somewhat on the facts? to quote the record.
The trial judge replied and again I'm quoting from the record, "Under the new statute, summation is discretionary, and I choose not to hear summations."
End of quotation.
The judge thereupon found the appellant guilty of attempted robbery in the third degree, and subsequently sentenced him to serve an indeterminate term of imprisonment with a maximum of four years.
The conviction was affirmed without opinion by an intermediate appellate court.
And leave to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals was denied.
An appeal was then brought here, and we noted probable jurisdiction.
For the reasons set out in a written opinion of the Court, we hold that the New York statute violates the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
Accordingly, we vacate the judgment before us and remand the case for further proceedings.
Mr. Justice Rehnquist has filed a dissenting opinion which the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Blackmun have joined.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you Mr. Justice Stewart.