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Arsenault v. Massachusetts

U.S.
Oct 14, 1968
393 U.S. 5 (1968)

Summary

holding that the state court erred in determining that White v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 59, requiring an accused to be represented by counsel during a preliminary hearing, did not apply retroactively to petitioner

Summary of this case from American Trucking Assns., Inc. v. Smith

Opinion

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS.

No. 187, Misc.

Decided October 14, 1968.

Petitioner pleaded guilty to murder at a probable-cause hearing when he had no counsel. He testified at his trial (when he had counsel), and denied guilt. On cross-examination his prior plea was introduced. Petitioner was convicted and the State's highest court affirmed over his contention that admission of the prior plea was error. Based on White v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 59, decided after petitioner's trial, petitioner sought post-conviction relief, which that court denied on the ground that White was not retroactive. Held: White v. Maryland, which is indistinguishable in principle from the present case, applies retroactively.

Certiorari granted; 353 Mass. 575, 233 N.E.2d 730, reversed.

F. Lee Bailey for petitioner.

Elliot L. Richardson, Attorney General of Massachusetts, Howard M. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, and Richard L. Levine, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.


In February 1955 petitioner was arrested in connection with a recent homicide and attempted robbery. The next morning at a probable-cause hearing, but unassisted by counsel, he pleaded guilty to counts of murder and assault with intent to rob. Six days later at his arraignment, and again unaided by counsel, he pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with first-degree murder. After being assigned counsel for trial he took the stand in his own defense and again pleaded not guilty to the indictment, asserting instead that he lacked the premeditation necessary for first-degree murder. On cross-examination, the district attorney questioned him about his prior statements at the preliminary hearing and introduced his plea of guilty for the purpose of refreshing his memory. The jury then returned a verdict of guilty and imposed a sentence of death, since commuted to life imprisonment. On direct review by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, he assigned as error the admission at trial of his prior plea. The court rejected his claim by affirming the conviction.

In 1966 petitioner sought post-conviction relief from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on the ground that our supervening decision in White v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 59, rendered his conviction void. While recognizing a "close similarity" between his case and White, that court nonetheless reaffirmed the judgment below on the ground that White was not retroactive. Petitioner comes here by petition for a writ of certiorari. The motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and the petition for a writ of certiorari are granted.

In White v. Maryland an accused pleaded guilty when arraigned at a preliminary hearing, and at that time had no counsel to represent him. We held that Hamilton v. Alabama, 368 U.S. 52, was applicable, as only the aid of counsel could have enabled the accused to know all the defenses available to him and to plead intelligently. White v. Maryland is indistinguishable in principle from the present case; and we hold that it is applicable here although it was not decided until after the arraignment and trial in the instant case.

The right to counsel at the trial ( Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335); on appeal ( Douglas v. California, 372 U.S. 353); and at the other "critical" stages of the criminal proceedings ( Hamilton v. Alabama, supra) have all been made retroactive, since the "denial of the right must almost invariably deny a fair trial." See Stovall v. Denno, 388 U.S. 293, 297.

For the distinction drawn between the right-to-counsel cases and those arising under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, see also Tehan v. Shott, 382 U.S. 406, 416.

Reversed.


Summaries of

Arsenault v. Massachusetts

U.S.
Oct 14, 1968
393 U.S. 5 (1968)

holding that the state court erred in determining that White v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 59, requiring an accused to be represented by counsel during a preliminary hearing, did not apply retroactively to petitioner

Summary of this case from American Trucking Assns., Inc. v. Smith

holding retroactive White v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 59

Summary of this case from Desist v. United States

holding the right to counsel extends to preliminary hearing where defendant enters a plea and such plea is put into evidence at subsequent trial, White v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 59, 83 S.Ct. 1050, 10 L.Ed.2d 193, to be retroactive

Summary of this case from Schlomann v. Moseley

holding retroactive the ruling in White v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 59, 10 L.Ed.2d 193, that an accused is entitled to counsel at a preliminary hearing

Summary of this case from State v. Jackson

holding White v. Maryland, supra, retroactive

Summary of this case from Com. ex Rel. Johnson v. Rundle

giving retroactive effect to the right to counsel at preliminary hearing

Summary of this case from Dorsey v. Solomon

In Arsenault, as in White, the defendant entered a guilty plea at a preliminary hearing and although the plea was changed at trial, the earlier guilty plea was introduced into evidence.

Summary of this case from Pagan Cancel v. Delgado

In Arsenault v. Massachusetts, 393 U.S. 5, 21 L.Ed.2d 5, 89 S.Ct. 35 (1968), a guilty plea and statements made by the defendant at a preliminary hearing without the assistance of counsel were used at trial.

Summary of this case from Commonwealth v. Broaddus

prohibiting the use of incriminating statements made by defendant at preliminary hearing without benefit of counsel, Fourteenth Amendment

Summary of this case from State v. Leroy

giving retroactive effect to right to counsel provided in White v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 59, 83 S.Ct. 1050, 10 L.Ed.2d 193

Summary of this case from Ex Parte Pennington

giving retroactive effect to the right to counsel provided in White v. Md., 373 U.S. 59, 83 S.Ct. 1050, 10 L.Ed.2d 193

Summary of this case from Rutherford v. State

In Arsenault v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 393 U.S. 5, 89 S.Ct. 35, 21 L.Ed.2d 5, the Supreme Court stated that: "The right to counsel at the trial (citing Gideon) on appeal (citation) and at the other `critical' stages of the criminal proceedings (citation) have all been made retroactive, since the `denial of the right must almost invariably deny a fair trial.'"

Summary of this case from State v. Jones
Case details for

Arsenault v. Massachusetts

Case Details

Full title:ARSENAULT v . MASSACHUSETTS

Court:U.S.

Date published: Oct 14, 1968

Citations

393 U.S. 5 (1968)
89 S. Ct. 35

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