United States v. Behrens

PETITIONER: United States
LOCATION: Cumberland Hospital

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 375 US 162 (1963)
ARGUED: Oct 17, 1963
DECIDED: Dec 09, 1963

Facts of the case


Media for United States v. Behrens

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 17, 1963 in United States v. Behrens

Earl Warren:

Number 86, United States, Petitioner, versus Kenneth Leroy Behrens.

Before you begin this case, I have some questions to ask of you.

Is it the government's view that under 4208 (Inaudible) procedure, that the government has the right to get down on that?

Louis F. Claiborne:

No, the defendant, no.

That's what I got mistaken to say, and I just want to be clear.

Louis F. Claiborne:

Well --

Tom C. Clark:

In other words supposing this --

Louis F. Claiborne:

I think I gave too short of an answer.

The government's position is that if appeal is taken then it defendant does have a right to go, (Inaudible) on bail.

If no appeal is taken then there is no right to bail.

But if the appeal is not taken, that's my question.

Louis F. Claiborne:

That's what I assume the question to be.

Then you answer would be no.

Louis F. Claiborne:


All right.

Potter Stewart:

No right to appeal, he has last if he doesn't take it within 10 days.

Louis F. Claiborne:

Right Your Honor.

Potter Stewart:

That's your position.

Louis F. Claiborne:

That's our position.

Do you think an individual Judge or justice would not have a right in those circumstances to say I'll let you out on bail on the condition upon you reporting (Inaudible) Attorney General (Inaudible) psychiatric condition.

Louis F. Claiborne:

Well unfortunately Mr. Justice Harlan, I don't think the study which is quite intensive involves not only interviews with the prisoner, but observation of the prisoner over this extended period and most often it's not three months, it's six months, it is extended, does require the physical presence of the defendant at the jail and we must remember that penitentiary is not necessarily proximate to the place of sentencing it.

It maybe some far distance away.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:


Louis F. Claiborne:

It is Mr. Justice Brennan.

It's resorted to in many instances when there is a psychiatric problem.

The prisoner is sometimes committed to Springfield where --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Is it only real facility for prisoner.

Louis F. Claiborne:

Well that's perhaps the only facility for the most intensive sort of psychiatric treatment and diagnosis.

But there are other penitentiaries equipped with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and others penologists who are in a position to prepare the report.

Report is then sent to Washington and is studied further here, and here in Washington the actual recommendation as to a sentence is made and only then is the report, the full report given to the Judge, sent to the Judge, they need to follow, so there is the recommendation made by the prison authorities.