Moore v. Michigan

LOCATION: First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)

CITATION: 355 US 155 (1957)
ARGUED: Oct 15, 1957 / Oct 16, 1957
DECIDED: Dec 09, 1957

Facts of the case


Media for Moore v. Michigan

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 16, 1957 in Moore v. Michigan

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 15, 1957 in Moore v. Michigan

Earl Warren:

Number 42, Willie B. Moore, Petitioner, versus State of Michigan.

Mr. Culver.

William H. Culver:

If the Court please.

This is the case of Willie B. Moore who was sentenced on October 29th, 1938 to life imprisonment in the County of Kalamazoo, Michigan and the sentence was on -- after a plea of guilty to a charge of murder of a lady named Josie Zeedyke.

Mr. Moore, in the 1940s, filed his own papers with the Circuit Court for the County of Kalamazoo.

Sometime later, he was represented in escort in three separate hearings on a delayed motion for a new trial.

After that, Mr. Moore was out of money.His father is a blind man.

His mother is sick.

The Circuit Court appointed me as the attorney for Mr. Moore to attempt the perfected field with the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court denied -- the delayed motion denied the -- granted the appeal but denied the delayed motion for the new trial in a 5-to-3 decision.

And subsequently, this Court has appointed me to represent him at this time.

Now, in arguing this case and looking into this case, we have one barrier which is difficult to overcome.

That is before the De Meerleer case in our Circuit in Kalamazoo.

There was no court reporter of any of the questioning or of any of the procedure that went on at the time of the -- what we call the arraignment, in finding out whether the man needed counsel, whether he could afford counsel.

And I think that's been -- I haven't found that that is in question by the Court at any time but I wish it's pointed out to the Court since I submit that that makes the rate of the problem as to equality of the evidence which is brought before this Court.

The evidence as to what happened at the arraignment is simply the testimony of two or three or four casual witnesses and Mr. (Inaudible) the lawyer who just happened to be in the court and Mr. Zeedyke, son of the murdered lady.

And it raises a difficult problem on appeal which would never have occurred at this time.

Is this a common thing and --

William H. Culver:

It's no longer --

(Voice Overlap) --

William H. Culver:

It's no longer the rule in --

One of the terms of this case is that there was nothing peculiar about the way this case (Voice Overlap) --

William H. Culver:

There was nothing peculiar about this particular one.

However --

Felix Frankfurter:

What -- what was -- in this -- what is matter of record Mr. Culver?

William H. Culver:

As far as the arraignment is concerned, it just says arraignment and plea.

Felix Frankfurter:

I thought the -- there were some remarks of the judge.

William H. Culver:

And subsequently, in the term -- after the plea, in the determination of the decree where there was first, second, third manslaughter there were questions of the doctor who have attended to --

Felix Frankfurter:

No, not the doctor but the judge himself has presumptions that he put --

William H. Culver: