Manson v. Brathwaite - Oral Argument - November 29, 1976

Manson v. Brathwaite

Media for Manson v. Brathwaite

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 16, 1977 in Manson v. Brathwaite

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 29, 1976 in Manson v. Brathwaite

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in 75-871, Manson against Brathwaite.

Mr. Gaffney, I think, you may proceed when you are ready.

Bernard D. Gaffney:

Mr. Chief Justice and may I please the Court.

My name is Bernard Gaffney and I am an assistant in the office of the State’s Attorney in Hartford, Connecticut.

I might say that in addition to representing the petitioner in this appeal, I represented the State in the trial of the case in the Superior Court in Hartford and I have also represented the State in the various judicial proceedings which have followed in both the State and the Federal Courts.

This case arose from an undercover narcotics investigation in Hartford factually on the evening of May 5, 1970.

An undercover State Police Officer, Jimmy Glover and an informant went to the third floor of an apartment building on Westland Street in Hartford for the expressed purpose of purchasing narcotics.

Now there are some questions as to whether Glover and the informant went to the specific apartment unit on the third floor that they had intended to go to and there is no question that when they got there, the transaction was with some other person than had been intended.

However, there is no question that Officer Glover in exchange for $20 purchased two glassine envelopes containing heroin.

In court, Glover made a positive identification of the respondent, known Brathwaite, as the seller of the narcotic.

Now if may I just go on, the sale took place at the doorway to the apartment and the testimony was that the total transaction, that is from its very start to its conclusion, took some where between five and seven minutes, and during this total period, the door to the apartment remained open for a period of about three minutes and the seller was standing in the doorway.

And Glover said that during this 3-minute period, he stood within 2 feet of his seller and was looking directly at his face, and he went on to say that he had absolutely no trouble in seeing in the hallway.

Thurgood Marshall:

It was the time?

Bernard D. Gaffney:

The transaction Your Honor took place at approximately or began at approximately 7:45 PM.

Potter Stewart:

On what date?

Bernard D. Gaffney:

May 5, 1970.

Now Judge Friendly, in his opinion, the Second Circuit Court opinion, pointed out that sunset on that day had occurred 7:53 PM.

Now outside the building at the conclusion of the transaction, Glover gave a description of his seller to Officer Michael D’Onofrio of the Hartford Police Department.

D’Onofrio was stationed outside the building as a Covering Officer.

Now D’Onofrio knew Brathwaite by sight.

He had seen him on a number of occasions prior to the date of the sale and he recognized the description, which Glover gave as applying to Brathwaite.

Now that night or the following date, D’Onofrio obtained a photograph of Brathwaite from the files of the Hartford Police Department and he took that photograph over to State Police Headquarters and he left it on Glover’s desk.

And I might point out parenthetically that the office of the State Police Headquarters in Hartford and the City of Hartford Police Headquarters are in two different buildings, geographically separated from one another by some distance.

Now a day or two later, specifically on May 7th, Glover returned to his office and he found the photo which D’Onofrio had left on his desk and he positively identified the person shown in the photograph as the same person from whom he had purchased the narcotics.

And I think it’s worth mentioning that at the time he did that, that at the time Glover viewed the photo, D’Onofrio was not present, and as a matter of fact, there is no evidence that there was any contact between D’Onofrio and Glover, between the date of the sale and the date of the photographic viewing, and no evidence, whatsoever, of any verbal influence or pressure brought by D’Onofrio upon Glover to make an identification.

Thurgood Marshall:

Except a picture.

Bernard D. Gaffney:

Yes, Your Honor, except the picture.

Now after it was confirmed by analysis that the substance sold was, in fact, heroin, police arrested Brathwaite.

It’s more than a little significance, I would submit, that Brathwaite’s arrest occurred at the very same apartment from which the sale had taken place.

That was not Brathwaite’s home, he lived at another address on Albany Avenue in Hartford and the Westland Street address was occupied by a Mrs. Ramsey.