Pollard v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Congress

LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 352 US 354 (1957)
ARGUED: Dec 03, 1956
DECIDED: Feb 25, 1957

Facts of the case


Media for Pollard v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 03, 1956 in Pollard v. United States

Earl Warren:

Pollard, Petitioner, versus United States of America.

Mr. Boskey.

Bennett Boskey:

May it please the Court.

This case comes here via the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on writ of certiorari.

The Court of Appeals having declined to allow petitioner's appeal in forma pauperis, this Court thereafter allowed certiorari in forma pauperis.

In the proceedings, in all courts below and at all stages prior to the case arriving in this Court, petitioner was not represented by counsel at anytime.

Counsel for the first time having been appointed after the case reached this Court and after certiorari was granted.

The fact that the case is here on these circumstances is an eloquent tribute to the American System of Justice.

But the circumstances which impelled the Court to bring the case here and the circumstances which are disclosed by this record are circumstances which show what a wide gap there can be between the standards which this Court has laid down for the administration of the criminal law and the manner in which those standards are carried out in actual practice in some of the District Courts of the United States.

Felix Frankfurter:

Sorry to interrupt you so early.

You're not taking a point -- making a point though but though, as you just said there was no (Inaudible) along the line you're arguing, did I hear you?

Bennett Boskey:

Mr. Justice Frankfurter, I said that I think it's relevant to some of the points I come to.

Felix Frankfurter:

You're not making a point of that in substantive issues.

Bennett Boskey:

In my brief, I have referred to it but one of the times --

Felix Frankfurter:

But I want to know now in the arguments.

Bennett Boskey:

Yes, sir, I am.

Felix Frankfurter:

Well, I understand that being the case.

This is Johnson and Zerbst.

Are you making that point -- let's see if I'm off the problem.

And as I --

Bennett Boskey:

This is not --

Felix Frankfurter:

I'm just going to say there was no counsel at any stage in this case until you were assigned happily by the Court, is that right?

Bennett Boskey:

Whether happy or not, Your Honor, there were no counsel in this case until I was assigned by the Court.

The circumstances which this record discloses will show that counsel ought to have been assigned or else that other --

Felix Frankfurter:

My next question is, are you raising explicitly Johnson and Zerbst?

Bennett Boskey:

This case is not Johnson and Zerbst as such because --

Felix Frankfurter:

All right, I thought (Voice Overlap) --

Bennett Boskey:

-- because petitioner knowingly pleaded guilty as I was just about to say.

No question is raised as to the propriety or validity of his plea of guilty.

This case doesn't --