Moore v. Illinois

LOCATION: Allied Structural Steel Company: Industrial Construction Division

DOCKET NO.: 76-5344
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 434 US 220 (1977)
ARGUED: Oct 03, 1977
DECIDED: Dec 12, 1977

Charles H. Levad - for respondent
Patrick J. Hughes, Jr. - for petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Moore v. Illinois

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 03, 1977 in Moore v. Illinois

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - December 12, 1977 in Moore v. Illinois

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the court in 76-5344 Moore against Illinois, will be announced by Mr. Justice Powell.

Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:

The petitioner in this case was convicted in an Illinois state court of rape and related offenses.

At his trial the complaining witness testified on direct examination by the prosecution that at a preliminary hearing, she had identified petitioner as a man who had attacked her.

Petitioner was not represented by counsel when this identification was made.

After exhausting the state remedies, petitioner sought relief by Habeas Corpus in a Federal District court.

He argued first that he should have been represented by counsel when the complaining witness identified him at the preliminary hearing.

He further contended that the state's testimony at trial as to his prior un-counseled identification violated his rights under the Sixth and Fourteenth amendments.

The District Court denied the writ, and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed.

We granted certiorari.

The preliminary hearing at which the identification took place occurred after the initiation of adversary additional criminal proceedings.

Under the cases of this court petitioner therefore was entitled to the assistance of counsel.

In Gilbert against California the Court also made clear that it is reversible error for the prosecution to elicit testimony at trial a better prior identification made as in this case in circumstances where there was a denial of the constitutional right to counsel.

We therefore reverse and remand the case to the Court of Appeals.

That court will be free however, to determine whether the error in admitting this testimony was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mr. Justice Blackmun and Mr. Justice Rehnquist have filed a concurring opinions, Mr. Justice Stevens did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Powell.