United States ex rel. Darcy v. Handy

PETITIONER: United States ex rel. Darcy

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1955-1956)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

ARGUED: May 01, 1956 / May 02, 1956
DECIDED: Jun 11, 1956

Facts of the case


Media for United States ex rel. Darcy v. Handy

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - May 01, 1956 in United States ex rel. Darcy v. Handy

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - May 02, 1956 in United States ex rel. Darcy v. Handy

Earl Warren:

Number 323, United States of America on the relation of David Darcy versus Earl D. Handy.

Mr. Lawley, you may proceed.

Frank P. Lawley, Jr.:

Thank you, Your Honor.

At the close of yesterday's argument, Mr. Justice Frankfurter asked me the question as to whether the question of Judge Boyer's statements and actions had been raised before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

The answer, sir, is yes and the Supreme Court stated in its opinion that it could find nothing in the statements or actions to indicate anything prejudicial to the petitioner.

Felix Frankfurter:

The judgment was on the merits this morning.

Frank P. Lawley, Jr.:

Yes, sir, yes, sir.

And in answer to the Chief Justice's question as to whether the District Court made findings of fact.

There were two judges who sat in the District Court.

Judge Murphy and Chief Judge Watson both conquered in the findings of fact contained in Judge Murphy's opinion.

They stated that he had failed to prove his allegations and they concluded that he had -- that he had received a fair trial.

On the first broad allegation of hysteria and prejudice, Darcy was represented at that trial by experienced trial counsel.

The District Court found as a fact that he knew in March the trial was in June.

He knew in March that it was the intention of the Commonwealth to start Darcy's trial immediately after that of his coconspirators, yet we find that there was no motion or change of venue nor for a continuance and that --

Tom C. Clark:

When did they sever the case?

Frank P. Lawley, Jr.:

I beg your pardon.

Tom C. Clark:

When did they sever the case?

Frank P. Lawley, Jr.:

In March, in March, sir.

In March?

Frank P. Lawley, Jr.:

Yes, sir.

In determining the significance of the failure to ask for a change of venue or a continuance, we cite Mr. Justice Clark's statement in Stroble versus California wherein he stated that to determine the significance, to determine whether there was history and prejudice, he thought it was significant that two deputy public offenders in Los Angeles had not requested a change of venue.

And a similar statement is contained in United States versus Rosenberg in the Second Circuit.

Chief Judge Swan there stated that if counsel did not realized the importance of newspapers at the time, there is no reason to believe that the jury did either.

We have in our brief, beginning on page 39, charted the procedural facts of the three cases, Stroble, Rosenberg and Darcy.

In the three, we note that in Stroble the question was first raised immediately on motion for a new trial.

Here, the question was not raised until present counsel raised it some two years later.

He now makes a statement that it was where the Court sua sponte to move to change the venue.

We say that this cannot be done.

Under Pennsylvania law, a defendant has a right to trial by a jury of the (Inaudible) and for the State or for the Court to have changed it, would have denied him of this constitutional right.

Further, our Constitution provides that the Court shall have the power to change venue under the provisions of the law.