Marshall v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: United States Senate

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

CITATION: 360 US 310 (1959)
ARGUED: Mar 25, 1959 / Mar 26, 1959
DECIDED: Jun 15, 1959

Facts of the case


Media for Marshall v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 26, 1959 in Marshall v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 25, 1959 in Marshall v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 383, Howard R. Marshall, Petitioner, versus United States of America.

Mr. Francis.

George J. Francis:

Mr. Chief Justice Warren, if the Court please.

The case before this Honorable Court this afternoon involves a rather simple point which came up in a criminal trial which I've been appointed by the Court to defend the defendant.

The salient point before this Honorable Court is whether or not the reading by jurors during the course of trial, that is to say after the trial has commenced, whether the reading by jurors of newspaper articles which set forth a defamatory matter about the criminal defendant which defamatory matter includes statements as to previous criminal convictions, includes statements that the defendant's wife had been involved in similar charges, tried and convicted in the same court and sentenced to jail, include statements that the defendant had prescribed restricted drugs for a -- at that time well known senior who shortly thereafter died and few other statements.

The case rose under a charge that the defendant was guilty of indiscriminate dispensing of drugs without prescription, the drug being commonly known as Dexedrine.

The defendant never took a stand.

The defendant did not present testimony of his own but rather relied upon cross-examination of the Government's witnesses in an attempt to challenge the burden of proof that was been on the Government.

In a very few words, the testimony was predominantly that of the government agent who testified that after having been introduced socially to the defendant, he approached him on two occasions -- approached the defendant on two occasions, concealing his identity and announcing to him that he had a long automobile trip to make.

One from Denver, Colorado to Dallas, Texas in one evening and two, this is on subsequent occasion, a drive by automobile from Denver to California.

The government agent requested stay-awake pills as he termed them and after some discussion on the initial approach to the defendant when the defendant recommended no dose and coffee to keep him awake, the government agent did received according to the testimony the dextro amphetamine sulfate, commonly termed Dexedrine.

As I have stated, the defendant did not take a stand, he did not present evidence.

He did not submit witnesses of his own.

However, through cross-examination of the plaintiff's witnesses predominantly the government agent rather close cross-examination and very careful cross-examination, the trial court grant an instruction to the defendant on entrapment.

The issue of entrapment was submitted to the jury as an issue of fact.

The Government after they had rested their case and having realize that an instruction on entrapment was to be given based upon only the Government's case sought to reopen for permission to submit further testimony on rebuttal.

That is to say that they had grounds that would justify the entrapment.

The Court considered the implication rather unusual because of the fact that a rebuttal was being asked for where the defendant had not presented the case.

However, the Court refused rebuttal on the grounds that the evidence that the Government was seeking to introduce was actually not relevant that is to say the Court was saying you have not shown me that this defendant was engaged in similar dispensing of drugs in this relevant period.

Entrapment instruction was given and rebuttal was not had.

Then in a few words is the summoned substance of the case.

The matters of which the petitioner complains of here rose after the first day of trial.

After the government agent and a few others had testified, the Court recessed.

The next morning, defendant's counsel namely myself having observed several newspapers in the jury room itself and having been informed that the --

Felix Frankfurter:

You mean the door of the jury room is open for you to see what's in there?

George J. Francis:

Yes, Your Honor.

The door of the jury room -- the jury room in the Denver courthouse is directly across the corner from the court room itself.

Felix Frankfurter:

The jury was separated during the trial?

George J. Francis:

The jury was separated during the trial.

Felix Frankfurter:

And they would be going in there just for smoking or whatnot?