Hester v. Illinois

LOCATION: United States District Court for the Central District of California

DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1969-1970)

CITATION: 397 US 660 (1970)
ARGUED: Nov 18, 1969
DECIDED: Apr 27, 1970

Facts of the case


Media for Hester v. Illinois

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 18, 1969 in Hester v. Illinois

Warren E. Burger:

Number 82, Hester against Illinois.

Mr. Kaplan.

Marshall Kaplan:

Yes Your Honor.

Warren E. Burger:

You may proceed whenever you're ready.

Marshall Kaplan:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This case is before this Court to review the murder conviction of a 14-year old fifth grade elementary school negro boy on the south side of Chicago.

The confession that he gave primarily, being responsible for his subsequent conviction in the Criminal Court of Cook County Illinois and his subsequent incarceration for 55 years in the Illinois state penitentiary.

On April 20, 1961 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the body of a school teacher in the Lewis Champlain Elementary School on the south side of Chicago Illinois was found, she was dead.

She had been stabbed numerous times and it appeared that she had been sexually molested.

16 hours after her body was found, Lee Arthur Hester was removed from his school room at the Lewis Champlain school which would put it at approximately 8 o'clock am.

From 8 o'clock am on April 21, a Friday 1961 to the minute I stand before you, Lee Arthur Hester has been incarcerated.

Most of the time at the Illinois State penitentiary, part of the time in the Cook County Jail and some other time in the Audi home, the Juvenile Detention Home in Chicago Illinois.

The school where Lee Arthur Hester attended had approximately 2,600 students attending in double shifts.

Hester going from 8 to 12 in the morning and another group going from 12 to approximately 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

On the same grounds of this school was a high school called the Englewood High School just separated a little distance away through a courtyard or field and that had 2,000 students approximately and then there was a continuation school.

A school in Chicago which houses and teaches older students who drop out of school who because the state law are required to attend school until a certain age, 16 or 17 years of age.

Two police officers came to Hester's room shortly before 8 o'clock a.m. in a company of a gym teacher, who had stated to the officers that she had seen Hester in the hall, sometime the day before, and I believe she said she saw him running.

The officers rummaged through the records of the teacher that -- in whose room, Hester was a student.

When the teacher came to the room, they told everyone to see Lee Arthur.

She told this to Lee Arthur, she sent him out of the room, they kept him a couple of minutes, they sent him back and the teachers says -- said and she testified to this.

What -- or he testified to this.

"What do they want from Lee Arthur?"

He says “they think I killed Mrs. Keen”.

And the whole room started to laugh.

From that moment until a confession was signed, sometime between 8:15 and 8:30 in the evening of Friday, that day was Friday, April 21, 1961.

Lee Arthur Hester was in to a continuous unbroken custody of at least 7 Police Officers of the Chicago Police Department who kept Hester from about 8 o'clock in the morning until 8:45 a.m. questioning him.

Those two officers, Sheldon R. Teller and another officer by the name of Anton Franco who then turned Hester over to another officer by the name of Feliz in the principal's office who kept him for approximately 15 minutes, who then turned Hester over to two other officers, Robert Perkins and an officer by the name of Harold Thomas who then took Hester to a Police Station in the neighborhood.

They switched automobiles and they took him to the Audi home, the Juvenile detention home.

Hester was searched at the Juvenile detention home.

All of his clothing was removed and from his pockets, all of his belongings removed including and I beg Your Honor to consider what was removed from the pockets, marbles.