Nelson v. Tennessee

PETITIONER: Nelson
RESPONDENT: Tennessee
LOCATION: Hazlehurst Manufacturing Company

DOCKET NO.: 56
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 355 US 271 (1957)
ARGUED: Dec 12, 1957
DECIDED: Dec 16, 1957

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Nelson v. Tennessee

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 12, 1957 in Nelson v. Tennessee

Earl Warren:

Number 56, Gerald William Nelson and John E. Hatton, Petitioners versus the State of Tennessee.

Mr. Atkins.

Hobart F. Atkins:

Justice Warren.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Atkins, before you get to your argument, I would like to ask you this question, whether your question that we took on certiorari was ever raised in the court below in any of the courts below?

Hobart F. Atkins:

Yes, sir.

Earl Warren:

In your petition for certiorari, there was no mentioned, of course, about it not being raised.

There was nothing said in the response but in petition or in the respondent's brief, the very first item in its argument is to the effect that this Court is without jurisdiction because the petitioners did not raise a substantial federal question on the jury issue in the state courts nor have they allege a substantial federal question in this Court.

Now, did you raise that question in the courts below?

Hobart F. Atkins:

We did.

Earl Warren:

Where was it first raised?

Hobart F. Atkins:

In the trial code.

Earl Warren:

Would you indicate to us in the record where it was raised please?

Hobart F. Atkins:

In the motion for a new trial.

Earl Warren:

Where does that appear in the record?

Hobart F. Atkins:

On page 12.

Earl Warren:

Page 12.

Then --

Hobart F. Atkins:

Now that is in connection with the jury.

There were two -- may I interpose?

There were two assignments of error that had to do with the constitutional guarantee.

Earl Warren:

Alright, now read the first one please.

Hobart F. Atkins:

The first one is Section A.

Because of the removal and discharge for cause from the jury path, violates the letter and spirit of Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution.

Earl Warren:

Now, isn't that the Tennessee constitution?

Hobart F. Atkins:

The constitution of Tennessee that we now have was adapted in 1807 and it is the same as the Constitution of the United States, insofar as the rights of a defendant or rights of a citizen to a jury trial or concern.

Earl Warren:

Well, can you raise the issue of -- under a state section or article and --

Hobart F. Atkins:

It -- it doesn't --

Earl Warren:

And have the federal question adequately raised.

Hobart F. Atkins:

The other -- in the -- in the third assignment on page 13.

Earl Warren:

On page 13?