Williams v. Oklahoma

LOCATION: S.S. Guadalupe

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals

CITATION: 358 US 576 (1959)
ARGUED: Jan 21, 1959
DECIDED: Feb 24, 1959

Facts of the case


Media for Williams v. Oklahoma

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 21, 1959 (Part 1) in Williams v. Oklahoma

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 21, 1959 (Part 2) in Williams v. Oklahoma

Sam H. Lattimore:

-- may I -- Mr. Justice Stewart referred to the confessions on where the information might be -- can be verified.

In the course of the opinion of the Court in giving the history of the case, the Court said thereafter, he was arrested on a bus by a member.

Now, he had -- had paid a bus driver to haul him over into another part of Eastern Oklahoma.

Thereafter, he was arrested by -- on a bus by a member of the highway patrol at Poteau, Oklahoma.

And a short time later confessed the murder of Tommy Cooke, taking the officers to the point in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, where he had disposed of the gun, which the officers recovered and which ballistic experts established was the gun that killed Cooke.

Another question was asked several times with reference to the procedure of the Court in Volume -- Sections 973, that's a sequence here.

The Court passed on that very clearly in this case.

When -- the Court referring to that contention said that we are of the opinion that both the provisions of 974 and 973 are contingent -- contingent upon the request for evidence under the provisions of 974 and 975 are contingent upon the request for evidence under the provisions of 973 or is -- it was in the trial court's discretion to pursue some other reasonable method, and that's the question.

When the parties fail to make a request for the privilege thereof, the same is waived and some other method of supplying the Court with the necessary information for the pronouncement of judgment and sentence may be substituted therefore.

I am citing a large number of cases from other States.

It is therefore -- in this record at no time did the defendant attempt to invoke the principles of this statute.

He did not, at any time, request the taking of evidence in mitigation or offered the slightest statement by a way of litigation.

He only asked for mercy, something he did not show the victim.

We are therefore of the opinion that the defendant's first contention under both the law and the facts cannot be sustained.

In that connection, I refer to the fact that in the making of those statements, the County Attorney wasn't the only one who made the statement.

Mr. Woodson, who represented the defendant, made an extended statement.

Earl Warren:

Did he deny --

Sam H. Lattimore:

Coming back to the --

Earl Warren:

-- did he deny --

Sam H. Lattimore:

I beg your pardon?

Earl Warren:

-- did he deny or contest any of these statements --

Sam H. Lattimore:

The -- no, sir.

Earl Warren:

-- of the (Voice Overlap) --

Sam H. Lattimore:

When Mr. Woodson was asked if he had anything further to say he said no.

And then when the Court asked the defendant very specifically and it's set out in both --

Earl Warren:


Sam H. Lattimore:

-- the opinions of the Judge Brett's opinion and Judge Powell's opinion.

The fact that the defendant said he had nothing further to say and that all of the statements made by the County Attorney were true.

With reference to the contention as to the merger, our court said, "It is further urged that the crime of kidnapping merged into the crime of murder.

Neither of these contentions can be sustained for the law defines murder and kidnapping as two separate and distinct offenses.