Michigan v. Payne

LOCATION: Paris Adult Theater

DOCKET NO.: 71-1005
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: Michigan Supreme Court

CITATION: 412 US 47 (1973)
ARGUED: Feb 22, 1973
DECIDED: May 21, 1973

James R. Neuhard - for respondent
John A. Smietanka - for petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Michigan v. Payne

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 22, 1973 in Michigan v. Payne

Warren E. Burger:

We’ll hear arguments next in 71-1005, Michigan against Payne.

Mr. Smietanka, you may proceed whenever you’re ready.

John A. Smietanka:

Thank you.

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

The facts in this criminal case are a bit complex.

Essentially, they arise from an incident which occurred in Benton Harbor, Michigan on November 5, 1962.

Two police officers were driving in their patrol car, stopped a Pontiac automobile, got out of their automobile and, as they were walking up to the Pontiac, the driver and passenger of that vehicle jumped out and began firing at them striking both officers, critically wounding both.

Both did survive.

Later that day, incidentally, it might be noted at this point that after the officers have been hit, they did fire their guns at the retreating vehicle, Pontiac.

Later that day, Leroy Payne, the defendant in this case was arrested, a confession was obtained from him illegally, and before Judge Phil Hadsol, the Byron County Circuit Court, he pled guilty on December 14, 1962.

In February 1963, he gave testimony against his co-defendant, Lionel Bradford.

In March 8, 1963, he was sentenced to 19-40 years by Judge Hadsol.

Warren E. Burger:

Well before you passed that, when he gave the testimony against him as co-defendant, did he acknowledge at all the facts that you presented to us?

John A. Smietanka:

He did.

Warren E. Burger:

Was that testimony used against him in any way thereafter?

John A. Smietanka:

It was not.

Subsequently, in 1967, Mr. Payne appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals and in May 12th of that year, 1967, the remand order was entered by that Court to the Byron County Circuit Court for an evidentiary hearing on the question of the voluntariness of his confession and the voluntariness of his plea.

Then, Circuit Judge Chester Burns conducted that evidentiary hearing in 1967, suppressed the confession, vacated the plea, and set the case down for preliminary examination, whereupon, it proceeded normally to trial.

Prior to trial, the same circuit judge, upon motion of the defendant, granted the change of venue to Grand Rapids which is Kent County, Michigan.

At the trial, certain evidence was entered by the people and by the defense.

I will get to that evidence later in my argument, if it please the Court.

He was convicted by a jury selected from Kent County.

He was sentenced on August 30, 1967 to a term of 25-50 years.

Warren E. Burger:

Now, in this trial, was his testimony against Bradford available to the jury?

John A. Smietanka:

It was not, Your Honor.

Warren E. Burger:

Does some rule or law of Michigan prohibit that?

John A. Smietanka:

The confession was not entered because Judge Burns specifically suppressed it and--

Warren E. Burger:

Well, the confession.

I’m speaking of his affirmative testimony, on the record in open Court in Bradford’s trial.

John A. Smietanka:

No mention as to be made of any-- there is an agreement prior to trial, it’s my understanding, and order of the Court that no mention was to be made either of his confession or his plea or the testimony before Judge Hadsol in the Bradford trial, and none was made.