Joseph v. Indiana

LOCATION: Calvert’s Tavern

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 359 US 117 (1959)
ARGUED: Jan 19, 1959
DECIDED: Mar 23, 1959

Facts of the case


Media for Joseph v. Indiana

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 19, 1959 in Joseph v. Indiana

Earl Warren:

Number 8, Don Joseph and Paul Pierce versus the State of Indiana.

Mr. Isham.

William S. Isham:


Earl Warren:

Mr. Isham.

Pardon me.

William S. Isham:

Mr. Chief Justice --

Earl Warren:


William S. Isham:

-- members of the Court.

This case covers on here as a result of a partial certiorari being granted on petition resulting from a conviction for murder in the Supreme Court of Indiana.

I have been appointed attorney in forma pauperis by the court.

I think in fairness to all of us and particularly in light of my peculiar employment, I should say this.

Before I start in on some particular aspects of this case, that I am in a truly unique position.

I think I am in a position here representing these men and I -- I apprehend it's my duty to do the best thing for them.

I am in a position where if I succeeded in having this Court today, hold with me, on the proposition that these confessions were improperly admitted because of violating the Due Process Clause, that I would, in effect, defeat the very quickest and most sure way from my clients to get out of prison.

I would simply prolong their long trip there where they've already been for 25 years, because I apprehend the Court would reverse the judgment of the Indiana Supreme Court and remanded for trial again.

Trial again is not going to help these men.

They have been through the trial again, time and again.

I would like, if I may, to briefly give the Court a little outline of the historical facts in this case, which I feel are very pertinent in discussing the question of the confession at a little later stage.

These two men --

Could you elaborate that (Inaudible)

William S. Isham:

Well, I -- I think --


William S. Isham:

Your Honor, they don't want a new trial.

They didn't -- they didn't want a new trial.

They filed a motion for new trial, as I shall point out here, in Indiana because it was the only procedural method to have an exhaustion of their state remedies in order to get under the federal court on a matter of habeas corpus.

And what do the Indiana court do behold?

It granted a new trial.

A judge who had never heard the case, 14 years later, granted a new trial.

Now, the only reason the motion was filed, as I shall point out, is because that is the only way in Indiana that one may have an appellate review of most of his conviction.

Anything relating to the trial itself must be done through the implementation of a motion for a new trial.