In re Groban

LOCATION: Kingsley Books, Inc.


CITATION: 352 US 330 (1957)
ARGUED: Nov 06, 1956
DECIDED: Feb 25, 1957

Facts of the case


Media for In re Groban

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 06, 1956 (Part 2) in In re Groban

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 06, 1956 (Part 1) in In re Groban

Earl Warren:

Number 14, The matter of the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus for Harry A. Groban and Nathan Groban.

Mr. Graham.

James F. Graham:

If it please this Honorable Court.

On January the 22nd, 1954, a fire occurred on the premises of the Dresden Woolen Mills, which is located in the village of Dresden, Muskingum County, State of Ohio.

Almost immediately following this fire, the State Fire Marshal, pursuant to the Chapter 37 of the Revised Code of Ohio, commenced his investigation.

And under the powers of that investigation, subpoenaing to Columbus, the owners and proprietors of the Dresden Woolen Mills, Mr. Harry and Nathan Groban, who are the petitioners and the appellants in this matter.

At the appearance in Columbus before the State Fire Marshal, the Fire Marshal read to the petitioners Revised Code Section 3737.13 which is cited in our appendix, declaring a hearing to be private.

That our -- the counsels or myself and my father's advice, the appellants at that time requested to be with counsel.

This was the denied.

Therefore, the petitioners-appellants refused to be sworn and refused to be testified.

And at that time, under the powers granted to the Fire Marshal, the Fire Marshal committed them although technically, they were committed.

We immediately filed our writ of habeas corpus in the common pleas court on March the 1st, the same day of the hearing and proceeded in this matter.

These are the facts.

They're outlined in our brief, the appellant's brief.

I would like to add to that or supplement those facts with additional facts in view of the appellees' answer brief thereto with a copy of which my father and I received last week and did not receive a printed copy until yesterday morning.

In the answer brief, they point out that that there was no actual incarceration.

That was at page 1 of the appellees' brief.

They spoke of an open hearing on the right of counsel at page 5.

They speak of abrogated power of an investigator on page 7.

These facts I feel will explain some of these various points that are mentioned in the appellees' brief.

At the time -- at the first instance of the investigation by the Fire Marshal, the assistant Fire Marshal, Willis S. Peterson was accompanied by a Mr. Donahue who was a representative of the National Underwriters -- Adjusters rather which, in short, the appellant's building.

It was stated to the appellants at that instance that the amount of fire loss claim would be a factor in determining one of the crime of arson, has been committed.

On that particular day, they appeared -- Mr. Peterson appeared with a tape recorder and accompanied by Mr. Donahue.

He advised the appellants that they were to commence to testify and it were to be taken down on this recorder.

At that instance, they phoned our office.

My father who had represented the company for a number of years was out of the city and could not be reached.

I myself took the phone call, and at that instance, was advised by Mr. Peterson of the specific, Section 3737.13, where he claimed he had the power to exclude counsel.

After briefly talking to him, I said that I would have to educate myself a little farther in the matter and I would like to call him back within a half an hour.

I did that and at that instance, I advised him that although I had read the Attorney General's opinion that is cited by Judge Clifford in the common pleas court and is to a transcript to this record and referred to and relied to in that opinion, I could not bring myself to believe that it was not a constitutional deprivation of due process to exclude counsel in a hearing of this nature when he had been given so many other powers by our legislature.

At that instance, the Fire Marshal, assistant Fire Marshal became incensed and advised me by -- on the phone that he was going to have a hearing in Columbus, subpoenaing these men, where this -- subpoena a different station, bringing all of their records of all the company to Columbus, and at that time, they'd had no right of counsel.