Reeves v. Alabama

LOCATION: Philadelphia Board of Public Education

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)

CITATION: 355 US 368 (1958)
ARGUED: Jan 08, 1958 / Jan 09, 1958
DECIDED: Jan 13, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for Reeves v. Alabama

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 09, 1958 in Reeves v. Alabama

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 08, 1958 in Reeves v. Alabama

Earl Warren:

Number 66, Jeremiah Reeves, Jr.versus State of Alabama.

Mr. Hall.

Peter A. Hall:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

Our argument would be a divided one.

I will make a few of this statement, my colleague Mr. Billingsley will speak in rebuttal.

This particular case is here in this Court the second time.

Some time ago, back in 1952, petitioner, a young Negro boy, age 16, is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama and was held three to four days in jail and imprisoned (Inaudible) question.

After that time, he was then indicted.On the next day, he was arraigned, charged with rape and subsequent to that, two days later he was tried, convicted of the crime of rape sentenced to the electric chair.On that occasion back in 1952, his counsel was (Inaudible), I believe.

I don't recall exactly what their exact name but he did not have the same counsel as now.

On the day of the arraignment -- I beg your pardon.He was arrested on November 10.

He was indicted on November 14th, 1952.

Now, from the 10th to the 14th of November, he was kept incommunicado in the City Jail of Montgomery and at Kilby Prison.

He was not allowed to talk with his parents or to have counsel or have been into the counsel.On the 14th of November, he was indicted by grand jury of Montgomery -- in Montgomery County Alabama.

Now, on the very next day, on November 15th, he was arraigned some time between November 15 -- November 14th and November 15th term of arraignment, counsel wasn't good for him.

On the arraignment, his then counsel asked for a continuance in order to (Inaudible) which request was abused.

Subsequently, on the 17th of November 1952, after arraignment, he was shared with the copy of the indictment and a list of the merit which has been drawn especially on the day of arraignment.

On the trial of the cause, his counsel sought to withdraw pleas, end it on arraignment, pleas to demerits in order that he might attack the indictment on constitutional grounds.

That request was overruled.

All of this is supplied at the record.

It appears in the record.

The trial then went ahead to a conclusion at which time Reeves is convicted as I've said before of rape.

This decision was affirmed by the Alabama Supreme Court.

Subsequently, this Court granted certiorari and after a hearing, the Alabama Court which has raised a reversal which is without directions, Kennedy against Alabama and (Inaudible) against Alabama was cited, subsequently, the State of Alabama against Jeremiah Reeves.

There's no trial in 1955.

On this particular trial, there is no reindictment of the arraignment.

Counsel for the defendant on the petitioner at that time again moved the Court -- moved the Court for permission to withdraw please in it on his previous arraignment in 1952 for the purpose of attack, the validity of this indictment on federal constitutional grounds.

We have specifically two grounds which we desire to explore.

One was the fact that under the reversal of this Honorable Court in the previous case, in the citation of the two cases, Kennedy against Alabama and Vermont against Alabama.

It was our conclusion that certain culprit statements and confessions introduced on the previous trial could not that -- that because of those culprit statements and those confessions, the conviction could not stand and it was our conviction and our argument and the effort to attack the indictment this time, that the only thing before the grand jury that indicted Reeves was in fact the statements and the confessions which had been thrown out and without this, the indictment could not stand.

Secondly, it was on the confession that the grand jury, which indicted petitioner contained absolutely no Negroes and that the system of the State of Alabama of throwing members of such grand jury said at that time was designed to exclude members or to discriminate against them by reason of their race and color then tried to the provisions of the federal constitution.