Powell v. Alabama

PETITIONER: Ozie Powell
RESPONDENT: Alabama
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: 98
DECIDED BY: Hughes Court (1932-1937)
LOWER COURT:

ARGUED: Oct 10, 1932
DECIDED: Nov 07, 1932

ADVOCATES:
Thomas E. Knight, Jr. - for the respondent
Walter H. Pollak - for the petitioners

Facts of the case

Nine black youths -- described as, "young, ignorant, and illiterate" -- were accused of raping two white women. Alabama officials sprinted through the legal proceedings: a total of three trials took one day and all nine were sentenced to death. Alabama law required the appointment of counsel in capital cases, but the attorneys did not consult with their clients and had done little more than appear to represent them at the trial. This case was decided together with Patterson v. Alabama and Weems v. Alabama.

Question

Did the trials violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?