Lynch v. Overholser

PETITIONER: Lynch
RESPONDENT: Overholser
LOCATION: United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit

DOCKET NO.: 159
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 369 US 705 (1962)
ARGUED: Jan 15, 1962
DECIDED: May 21, 1962

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Lynch v. Overholser

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 15, 1962 (Part 1) in Lynch v. Overholser

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 15, 1962 (Part 2) in Lynch v. Overholser

Burke Marshall:

To clear up this point of the way that I worded my statement about the commission of a crime, I think that on the record, there is no challenge to the fact that the government proved in this trial all the material elements of the criminal acts except sanity and that's all that I meant is that there's no question but that it started with the commission of acts which would be criminal were not it for depe -- for the defendant's insanity.

Earl Warren:

(Inaudible)

Burke Marshall:

There is no record, Mr. Chief Justice.

I think there is a presumption of regularity and, as I say, the -- there is no challenge to it.

Earl Warren:

(Inaudible)

Burke Marshall:

There is no transcript of the trial proceedings.

Felix Frankfurter:

(Inaudible)

Burke Marshall:

No, there was no suggestion by the Court of Appeals, Mr. Justice Frankfurter.

Felix Frankfurter:

(Inaudible)

Burke Marshall:

Well, I do not think that, in this particular case, there's any dispute as to what happened in the Municipal Court, any basic dispute.

The record does show that when the case came on to trial before the chief judge of the Municipal Court, he had before him two reports from the hospital on the mental condition of Mr. Lynch.

One was about three weeks old.

That one said that, at that time, Mr. Lynch was incompetent, unable to understand the proceedings against him, unable to assist counsel, and that that report recommended commitment and further treatment at the time.

The other report was dated just the day before the trial.

That said that he had made improvement.

That he was now able to understand the nature of the charge and to assist counsel, but that at the time the crimes were committed, he had been suffering from a mental disease, which the report diagnosed as a manic depressive psychosis, which is a very serious mental disease and that, in the opinion of the psychiatrist who wrote the report, the crimes or the criminal acts had been a product of that mental disease.

Those two reports were before the judge.

Felix Frankfurter:

Are they (Inaudible)

Burke Marshall:

Yes, they are, Mr. Justice Frankfurter.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Marshall, who made -- who made the decision that (Inaudible)

Burke Marshall:

Mr. Chief Justice, it is -- the record simply doesn't show what happened on that point.

In fact, the record doesn't show whether the court, on its own motion, called the psy -- psychiatrist or whether the government called him or even whether or not it was on the case on -- in chief.

It does show -- all that it shows is that there were these two reports before the judge and that it was in the context of those two reports that the judge rejected the plea of guilty and proceeded to trial.

(Inaudible)

Burke Marshall:

At the trial, yes, Mr.--

(Inaudible)

Burke Marshall:

No, it is not.

(Inaudible)

Burke Marshall:

Well --

(Inaudible)