Reece v. Georgia

LOCATION: Pittsburgh Party Headquarters

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1955-1956)

CITATION: 350 US 85 (1955)
ARGUED: Nov 09, 1955
DECIDED: Dec 05, 1955

Facts of the case


Media for Reece v. Georgia

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 09, 1955 in Reece v. Georgia

Earl Warren:

Number 112, Amos Reece versus the State of Georgia.

I understand that counsel for -- that the State of Georgia is not to be represented here today.

Although, they have been notified to the fact and -- and notified of the desirability of their being here.

So, Mr. Reece, you may -- you may proceed.

Daniel Duke:

This is Daniel Duke appearing for the petition --

Earl Warren:

Oh, I beg -- I beg your pardon.

Daniel Duke:

-- petition of Amos Reece.

Earl Warren:

I beg your pardon, Mr. Duke.

Daniel Duke:

May it --

Earl Warren:

Mr. Duke I knew that.

Daniel Duke:

-- please the Court.

First, I would like to state what I am not contending before I go into the facts, because I've heard many of these cases and they impinged upon the same general violations, and I think I might expedite it and also clarify some of the issues involved in this case if I state first what I am not contending in this appeal.

The petitioner isn't contending that the State of Georgia doesn't have authority to regulate the mode of procedure by which a person was charged with the capital felony may be tried and indicted.

We are not contending that this petitioner has a right arising under the Fourteenth Amendment to have members of the Negro -- Negro race proportionately represented on the grand jury list or on the grand jury that indicts here.

We don't contend that he's entitled to have members of the Negro race on a particular trial jury which tried it.

We do contend that under the Fourteenth Amendment, that the petitioner is protected against the discrimination against members, qualified members of his race in the selection of -- and the make up of the grand jury and petit jury list and in selection of grand jury, also in petit jurors.

Both of the questions arise in this particular case.

In the case before the Court, the questions presented are questions that have been before this Court on many occasions, and it's in the application of the facts to the general principles of law that I wish to address myself because there are some unique features to this case.

This man has been tried twice under the same indictment.

On the afternoon of October the 20th, 1953, a white female was ravished in Cobb County, Georgia.

Later that afternoon, the petitioner here, Amos Reece, that's late in the afternoon of October the 20th, and these dates are important, because it -- it's around the dates and the application of the facts to the principles involved here that we claim that his rights have been denied to him.

Late in the afternoon of October the 20th, 1953, he was arrested, and he was lodged in the common jail of Cobb County, Georgia.

Now at that time, the grand jury which had been summoned in Cobb County, and had been impaneled and sworn on October the 12th, eight days prior to the commission of the offense.

The grand jury had been adjourned on October the 19th, the day before the commission of this offense.

The prisoner -- the -- the petitioner was arrested late on the afternoon of October the 20th.

On the morning of October the 21st, while the petitioner was in jail, the judge in the Superior Court reassemble the grand jury by an order calling him to be back on the morning of October the 23rd.

And in that order, the Court recited that certain persons were being held in the common jail and that the Solicitor General would present them for indictment.

The name of Amos Reece, the petitioner, who was arrested the day before, was not among those others remained in the order and registered in the Clerk's office.

The grand jury assembled two days after he had been incarcerated at the time when he did not have an attorney.

On the 23rd of October, 1953, the petitioner was indicted for a capital felony.