Machibroda v. United States

PETITIONER: Machibroda
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 368 US 487 (1962)
ARGUED: Dec 05, 1961
DECIDED: Feb 19, 1962

Facts of the case


Media for Machibroda v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 05, 1961 in Machibroda v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 69, John Machibroda, Petitioner, versus United States.

Mr. Reitz.

Curtis R. Reitz:

If the Court please.

Petitioner in this case is also seeking collateral relief from conviction in sentence, in this case for two bank robberies.

The convictions rest upon pleas of guilty entered on February 24th, 1956 in the record at page 40, sentence was imposed on May 23rd, 1956.

The sentence is aggregating on four accounts for the two bank robberies 40 years.

This is on the record at page 42 and 43.

This present proceeding was instituted on February 9th, 1959 as a motion to vacate sentences under Section 2255 of judicial code.

The District Court for the Northern District of Ohio summarily denied the motion and the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed in a brief per curiam opinion.

One of the issues in this case may I say at the outset is identical to the issue in Hill versus United States.

It's argued namely a violation of Federal Criminal Rule 32 (a).

I don't think there's any necessity for me to say more on that rule beyond this. What is at stake in this rule is nothing less than the right of a defendant to be heard and there's nothing more fundamental to our concept with due process and the right for a defendant to be heard.

In the context of the sentencing hearing, Rule 32 (a) imposes on the judge the obligation to make that right effective.

Charles E. Whittaker:


Curtis R. Reitz:

Yes Your Honor.

Charles E. Whittaker:


Curtis R. Reitz:

His counsel was asked to speak and did not Your Honor.

He declined to say anything.

It was --

Charles E. Whittaker:


Curtis R. Reitz:

I don't believe so Your Honor.

The Rule 32 (a) to the extent that it operates determined by this Court in the Green case operates to provide the defendant himself personally, not to this counsel, personally the right to speak and this Court virtually unanimous to Mr. Justice Stewart only accepting took that position in the Green case.

Charles E. Whittaker:


Curtis R. Reitz:

That's right.

And what I say with respect to Rule 32 (a) is the same as I would say under Rule 11th or Rule 44.

These do not restate constitutional rights.

There is no constitutional right that I know of that could be stated in terms of an obligation on the Court to initiate some proceeding.

What the rules do is they extend and make more effective that underlying constitutional rights by imposing on the judge, not the defendant and not his lawyer the obligation to undertake to vindicate.

The second issue in this case is far more important.

May I say Mr. Justice Whittaker before it pass it, that the Government, Mrs. Cooper has indicated concedes that 32 (a) has violated in this case as well.