DOCKET NO.: 78-5471
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: District of Columbia Court of Appeals
CITATION: 445 US 684 (1980)
ARGUED: Nov 27, 1979 / Nov 28, 1979
DECIDED: Apr 16, 1980
Mr. Andrew L. Frey – on behalf of Respondent
Silas J. Wasserstrom – for petitioner
Media for Whalen v. United States
- Opinion Announcement – April 16, 1980
- Oral Argument – November 28, 1979
- Oral Argument – November 27, 1979
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – April 16, 1980 in Whalen v. United States
Warren E. Burger:
The judgment and opinion of the Court in Whalen against United States will be announced by Mr. Justice Stewart.
This case is here by reason of the grant of a writ of certiorari to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
After a jury trial, the petitioner was convicted in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia of rape, and of killing the same victim in the perpetration of rape.
He was sentenced to consecutive terms of imprisonment of 20 years to life for first-degree murder, and of 15 years to life for rape.
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions and the sentences.
We brought the case here to consider the contention that the imposition of cumulative punishments for the two offenses was contrary to federal statutory and constitutional law.
For the reasons set out in detail in the Court’s written opinion, we have concluded that cumulative sentences cannot lawfully be imposed for the two offenses in the circumstances of this case.
Accordingly, the judgment is reversed.
Mr. Justice White and Mr. Justice Blackmun have each filed opinions concurring in the judgement.
Mr. Justice Rehnquist has filed a dissenting opinion which the Chief Justice has joined.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you Mr. Justice Stewart.