Morris v. Mathews

LOCATION: Hardwick's Apartment

DOCKET NO.: 84-1636
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 475 US 237 (1986)
ARGUED: Nov 04, 1985
DECIDED: Feb 26, 1986

Michael G. Dane - on behalf of the Respondents
Richard David Drake - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Morris v. Mathews

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 04, 1985 in Morris v. Mathews

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments first this morning in Morris against Mathews.

Mr. Drake, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Richard David Drake:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court:

The issue in this case is, under what circumstances a jeopardy barred criminal conviction may be modified to that of a lesser and included offense which is not jeopardy barred.

It is submitted that such a remedy is available, unless the defendant alleges and demonstrates that evidence otherwise inadmissible in a trial for the lesser and included offense was presented to the tryer of fact during the course of the jeopardy barred trial, and that such evidence resulted in actual prejudice to the defendant.

A conviction can thus be modified, unless a defendant specifically identifies the claimed inadmissible evidence and demonstrates its prejudicial impact.

Such cases are analogous to the spillover prejudice that arises in misjoinder of offense cases.

Whereas here, the same evidence would have been admitted in a trial for the lesser and included offense, as what is admitted during the jeopardy barred trial, a per se rule of automatic reversal can only serve to force the defendant and the prosecution to yet a third proceeding.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Mr. Drake, would all the same evidence be admissible, in your view?

Richard David Drake:

In the case before the Court, all the evidence would be admissible had the Respondent in this case been indicted for murder; in other words, had the prosecution not sought the enhanced penalty, and we are talking here about an enhanced penalty case, the evidence would have been identical.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

I guess your... the Respondent takes the position that not every bit of that evidence would be admissible at the new trial?

Richard David Drake:

In the brief of the Respondent before this Court, he fails to identify one iota of evidence that came in, in the jeopardy barred trial, that would not have come in in the murder trial.

I believe perusal of his brief demonstrates such.

He does not identify one shred of testimonial or physical evidence that was presented, and it must be borne in mind that this case was not tried in a vacuum.

The very motive for the homicide was to cover up the bank robbery, by the Respondent's own admission.

In other words, but for the commission of the bank robbery, the homicide would never have occurred.

An analysis of the facts of the instant case demonstrates the remedial action taken by the Ohio Appellate Court was wholly consistent with the double jeopardy clause and the due process clause.

It's undisputed that Respondent and his accomplice robbed a federally insured bank at gunpoint.

During the opening statements at the trial in question, the defense attorney informed the jury that defense did not contest the fact that the Respondent was a participant in the bank robbery.

Upon exiting the bank the witness saw a vehicle and reported the license number, and a high speed chase immediately ensued.

The chase ended when the Respondent and his accomplice went to a farmhouse in order to take hostages.

They were unsuccessful in this endeavor.

The house was completely surrounded by various law enforcement officers from a variety of jurisdictions.

Two shots were heard in the home, at which time Respondent exited.

The accomplice was found dead, having suffered a fatal blow to the heart at point-blank range with a sawed off single shot shotgun.

Respondent was taken into custody and gave a series of statements.

His initial statement to the police was made under oath and reported by a stenographer.

He therein stated that he had been kidnapped by the accomplice, and that both his life and that of his girlfriend had been threatened.

Therefore, he participated unwillingly.

That very evening agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived and Respondent conceded that he was in fact a willing participant in the bank robbery.