Wilson v. Schnettler

PETITIONER: Wilson
RESPONDENT: Schnettler
LOCATION: Eagle Coffee Shoppe

DOCKET NO.: 182
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 365 US 381 (1961)
ARGUED: Dec 15, 1960
DECIDED: Feb 27, 1961

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Wilson v. Schnettler

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 15, 1960 in Wilson v. Schnettler

Earl Warren:

Number 182, Bernard Wilson, Petitioner, versus Donald F. Schnettler et al.

Gentlemen, we would not finish -- we would not take this case up ordinarily but because we wouldn't be finishing it by -- for adjournment time but Mr. Doherty because you do come from a long distance we are going to -- we're going to continue to and finish your case today.

James J. Doherty:

Thank you very much, Your Honor.

I'll try to make this short as possible in the presentation.

May it please Your Honors.

This case involves the supervisory power of federal courts over federal law enforcement officers.

The respondents, federal narcotics agents, arrested the petitioner on April 14, 1959 at about 7:30 in the morning and they searched him without a warrant and they recovered two packages of narcotics from his purse.

They did not take him before the United States Commissioner but they took him and lodged him in the Cook County Jail, located at Chicago, Illinois.

Thereafter, in the month of July he was indicted by the grand jury of Cook County and charged with the crime of unlawful possession of narcotic drugs.

On July 31st, he was arraigned at which time our office was appointed to defend him because he was in fact an indigent prisoner.

He entered the plea of not guilty and moved to suppress the evidence in the state court and the motion was denied.

Whereupon, thereafter, we --

Potter Stewart:

Do we have here any record of those state court proceedings?

James J. Doherty:

We have not -- not as a part of this record, Your Honor, however, we have a copy, a transcript of the copy and the Solicitor General has a transcript, I know because the Court reporter either lost her notes or something but she copied mine to give it to them so we'll stipulate to the conduit of the record if they want to after this.

Earl Warren:

There's no objection?

We have (Voice Overlap) --

Daniel M. Friedman:

No, Mr. Chief Justice.

Earl Warren:

Thank you Mr. Friedman, you may get it to the Court with the proper time.

Daniel M. Friedman:

Surely, yes, Your Honor.

James J. Doherty:

Now the -- we went over to the Federal District Court and we made a petition for declaratory judgment.

We asked the District Court to hold the hearing and to ascertain in that hearing if these federal agents had obeyed the standards imposed upon them by the federal rules of criminal procedure.

Potter Stewart:

Can you tell me this much about the state court proceedings, was the motion to suppress the evidence denied because it was not an unlawful procedure or because this had been done purely by federal officers or for what reason?

James J. Doherty:

The -- the state court denied the motion to suppress and they said that the authority for doing so was the case of Draper versus United States, ruled on the merits.

During that time, we tried to inquire into why that he was not taken before the United States Commissioner.

John M. Harlan II:

(Inaudible)

James J. Doherty:

It was an arrest case.

John M. Harlan II:

(Inaudible)

James J. Doherty:

The facts precisely as are in the transcript of record are that they had a building under surveillance where they had information that narcotics were being sold.

And they had information that this man had in the past bought narcotics on two or three occasions and he did it between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning and that was the information they had.

Further brought out if I may speak about what is in this transcript now with propriety, they testified further that they did not know that a crime was in fact committed in that building.