Palko v. Connecticut Case Brief

Facts of the case

Frank Palko had been charged with first-degree murder. He was convicted instead of second-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. The state of Connecticut appealed and won a new trial this time the court found Palko guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced him to death.

Why is the case important?

Defendant Palko is tried and convicted of murder for a second time after state appeals previous murder conviction on same events.

Question

Does the entire Fifth Amendment double jeopardy prohibition apply to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment?

ANSWER

No. The Supreme Court of the United States affirms the first degree murder conviction and the accompanying death sentence.
Two requirements need to be met for a state to appropriately choose to not include the prohibition on double jeopardy, or any other piece of the 5th Amendment, in its law. They do not have to incorporate such a right if it is not of the very essence of a scheme of ordered liberty, and if its abolishment would not violate a principal of justice so rooted in the traditions and conscience of the American people as to be ranked fundamental. Here, the Supreme Court saw the state’s allowing a second trial on the same facts as not violating fundamental principles of liberty and justice because it was only done to make sure that there was a trial without legal error.

CONCLUSION

The United States Supreme Court affirmed, holding that not all U.S. Const. amend. V rights were applicable to the states through U.S. Const. amend. XIV , and the state could choose not to adopt a right if it was not of the very essence of a scheme of ordered liberty, and its abolishment would not violate a principle of justice so rooted in the traditions and conscience of the American people as to be ranked as fundamental. The Court ruled that the state statute did not deny petitioner due process of law because allowing a retrial did not violate fundamental principles of liberty and justice where it was only done to ensure a trial free from substantial legal error.

  • Advocates: David Goldstein for the appellant George A. Saden for the appellant William H. Comley for the appellee
  • Appellant: Frank Palko
  • Appellee: Connecticut
  • DECIDED BY:Hughes Court
  • Location: Fairfield County Trial Court
Citation: 302 US 319 (1937)
Argued: Nov 12, 1937
Decided: Dec 6, 1937
Palko v. Connecticut Case Brief