Oyler v. Boles

PETITIONER: Oyler
RESPONDENT: Boles
LOCATION: Place of arrest

DOCKET NO.: 56
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 368 US 448 (1962)
ARGUED: Dec 04, 1961
DECIDED: Feb 19, 1962

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Oyler v. Boles

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 04, 1961 (Part 1) in Oyler v. Boles

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 04, 1961 (Part 2) in Oyler v. Boles

George H. Mitchell:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

First of all and I'd like to say that I don't want to give the impression that I'm attempting to read something into the statute that does not exist.

I agree fully with the holding in the Graham case that the proceedings under the statute are for identification only and I know of no reported cases in West Virginia where the question was raised as to whether defense, especially the one suggested by Mr. Chief Justice Warren, if interposed whether it should be considered or not at the hearing.

I know of no reported case that says it should be considered.

William O. Douglas:

Suppose the -- the man who's up under the statute has been convicted, say three times, and one of those times or two of those times or three of those times, he did not have a, say lawyer, as our decision in Betts and Brady requires in certain, at least in certain types of cases, would that be triable on this -- under the statute?

George H. Mitchell:

As I just stated, I know of -- Mr. Justice Douglas, I know of no cases, reported cases in West Virginia where they have allowed a defense where the --

William O. Douglas:

(Voice Overlap) --

George H. Mitchell:

-- defense was interposed --

William O. Douglas:

Yes.

George H. Mitchell:

-- and it was tried --

William O. Douglas:

Suppose this, and suppose you were there representing the state and Mr. Ginsburg was there representing this man and Mr. Ginsburg steps forward and offers that in proof.

Would you object or would you say this is triable?

If those four -- those prior three convictions were all voidable or unconstitutional or whatever you want to call them could be attacked say by habeas corpus because of the deprivation of a constitutional right, would you say that they nevertheless would be foreclosed that this man could go to prison for life on the basis of three judgments in which he had no lawyer, no one to defend him and constitutionally was entitled to a lawyer in those three cases or in one of those three cases or in two of those three cases.

I realize that isn't quite this case but I kind of get your idea of what this statute does and does not do.

George H. Mitchell:

Well, under the statute, I think it's limited to a question of identification only but as I have stated before, in practice, it's possible that the judge in order to determine whether or not the conviction was proper, it might here.

Earl Warren:

As I understand it, under the statute (Inaudible) controversy under the insinuation, surely he's entitled to know the issue, who will decide it under the facts you say (Inaudible) -- making sure they decide that question or (Inaudible)?

George H. Mitchell:

The jury would decide.

They would decide whether -- well, they're only entitled under the statute to decide whether he is the person named in the information.

Earl Warren:

Yes.

George H. Mitchell:

That's all.

Earl Warren:

I recognized and I suppose in addition to that, the range of decisions that you say can be raised according to the (Inaudible) by the highest court.

Suppose it was an issue to identity and he raise the question of (Inaudible) in the statute to be raised only before a jury and would he (Inaudible) be limited only to the identity.

George H. Mitchell:

It would be a question of admissibility for the judge and I would think that under the statutory proceeding, it would not be a question for the jury if he -- it could raise the question on a writ of error if he denied the right to interpose this defense but it is my firm belief that in accord with the Graham case that only those questions that go to the identification of the prisoner are the ones that make it to the jury.

Earl Warren:

What in fact was (Inaudible) is whether we can assume that the wrong in West Virginia is that a man in this situation, (Inaudible) is limited to the question of identity.

George H. Mitchell:

I think --

Earl Warren:

How do you want us (Inaudible)?

How do you want us to deal with your law of West Virginia? Did he (Inaudible) to contesting identity or his (Inaudible) in some matter or form the opportunity raised in the defense?

George H. Mitchell:

At this particular proceeding, it is my thought and I think that the law of West Virginia is that this limits to the question of identification.

Tom C. Clark:

(Inaudible)

George H. Mitchell:

Under the statute, Mr. Justice, if he says that he is not the person, then it's incumbent upon the state to put on evidence to the effect that he is (Inaudible).