May v. City of Chicago

PETITIONER: May
RESPONDENT: City of Chicago
LOCATION: Georgia State Capitol

DOCKET NO.: 70-5040
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1971-1972)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Illinois

CITATION: 404 US 189 (1971)
ARGUED: Oct 14, 1971
DECIDED: Dec 13, 1971

ADVOCATES:
Henry F. Field - for the appellant
Richard L. Curry - for the appellee

Facts of the case

Question

Media for May v. City of Chicago

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 14, 1971 in May v. City of Chicago

Warren E. Burger:

In number 5040, Mayer against City of Chicago.

Mr. Field.

Henry F. Field:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case raises once again the issue first raised and decided by this Court 15 years ago in Griffin versus Illinois of whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires that a State which provides appeals of right and reporters who transcribe trials provide a poor person who is unable to pay for that transcript and who needs that transcript to demonstrate crucial trial errors so that he may have an adequate and effective review and may adequately exercise his right of appeal.

This case today arises under Illinois Supreme Court rule 607 which at the time of trial and until very recently provided that only defendants in felony cases had, indigent defendants, had a right to apply for free transcript from the State of Illinois.

As of July 1st of this year that rule has been amended so that it now provides that any defendant who at the time of trial faced a penalty greater than six months in jail could apply to Illinois for a transcript.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

That rule applied in this case?

Henry F. Field:

Pardon me?

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

That new rule has applied to this case?

Henry F. Field:

No.

Your Honor.

It did not?

But (Inaudible) they word it?

Henry F. Field:

No, I do not believe it affects the case in anyway.

Byron R. White:

What was the possible penalty?

Henry F. Field:

Here the possible penalty at the time of trial was $1000.00 fine and no jail term at least initially.

Warren E. Burger:

I am not sure I follow about that means initially.

Henry F. Field:

Well, Illinois does-

Warren E. Burger:

An alternative if he did not pay the fine?

Henry F. Field:

Yes.

Warren E. Burger:

And how much?

Henry F. Field:

Illinois provides that a defendant has to pay off, work off the fine of $5.00 a day and that is the contingency in a case which leaves a possible jail sanction, but after this Court's decision in Tate versus Short of last year, this question is perhaps removed from the case although still, there are still some uncertainty I believe in the construction of that case.

Warren E. Burger:

Or would it be removed from case automatically or with just the $5.00 a day, the under question?

Henry F. Field:

Well, the effect of Tate versus Short, were it applied to this case, would be as I understand the case that the defendant here could not be put in jail at the rate of $5.00 a day, if he did not pay the fine, was not able to pay the fine that he was sentenced to.

Warren E. Burger:

That your new rule does not reach anything measured by the amount of the fine?

Henry F. Field:

No.

Warren E. Burger:

Only the fine?

Henry F. Field:

Only if the defendants at the time of trial faced a penalty of greater than six months in jail and does not include the contingency of six months worked off through fine.

You are suggesting maybe this case is a true so called petty offense rather than one that might have avoided 6 months jail?

Henry F. Field:

I do not believe that even at the $5.00 rate this defendant would be in jail for more that six months.