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O'Connor v. Ohio

U.S.
Nov 14, 1966
385 U.S. 92 (1966)

Summary

holding state procedural rule requiring trial objections could not bar an appellant from asserting a violation of his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination

Summary of this case from Carroll v. State

Opinion

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF OHIO.

No. 477.

Decided November 14, 1966.

Petitioner's failure at trial and during his first appeal in the state courts to object to prosecutor's comment on his not testifying in criminal trial which resulted in his conviction, review of which was being sought in this Court when Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609, was decided, held not to foreclose petitioner's right to attack as unconstitutional the practice of making such comment following its invalidation in Griffin.

Certiorari granted; 6 Ohio St.2d 169, 217 N.E.2d 685, reversed.

James W. Cowell for petitioner.

Harry Friberg for respondent.


This is the second time petitioner has come before this Court with the claim that the prosecutor's comment upon his failure to testify during his trial for larceny violated the constitutional right to remain silent. In O'Connor v. Ohio, 382 U.S. 286, we considered this contention when we granted certiorari, vacated the conviction and remanded the case to the Supreme Court of Ohio for further proceedings in light of our decision in Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609. Following remand, the Ohio court by a closely divided vote upheld petitioner's conviction solely on the ground that he failed to object to the proscribed comment at his trial and during his first appeal in the state courts. That failure was held to preclude the Ohio appellate courts from considering the claim that petitioner's federal constitutional rights had been infringed.

The State does not contest the fact that the prosecutor's remarks violated the constitutional rule announced in Griffin. Moreover, it is clear the prospective application of that rule, announced in Tehan v. Shott, 382 U.S. 406, does not prevent petitioner from relying on Griffin, since his conviction was not final when the decision in Griffin was rendered. Indeed, in Tehan we cited our remand of petitioner's case as evidence that Griffin applied to all convictions which had not become final on the date of the Griffin judgment. 382 U.S., at 409, n. 3. Thus, the only issue now before us is the permissibility of invoking the Ohio procedural rule to defeat petitioner's meritorious federal claim.

We hold that in these circumstances the failure to object in the state courts cannot bar the petitioner from asserting this federal right. Recognition of the States' reliance on former decisions of this Court which Griffin overruled was one of the principal grounds for the prospective application of the rule of that case. See Tehan v. Shott, 382 U.S. 406, 417. Defendants can no more be charged with anticipating the Griffin decision than can the States. Petitioner had exhausted his appeals in the Ohio courts and was seeking direct review here when Griffin was handed down. Thus, his failure to object to a practice which Ohio had long allowed cannot strip him of his right to attack the practice following its invalidation by this Court.

We therefore grant the petition for certiorari and reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

It is so ordered.


Summaries of

O'Connor v. Ohio

U.S.
Nov 14, 1966
385 U.S. 92 (1966)

holding state procedural rule requiring trial objections could not bar an appellant from asserting a violation of his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination

Summary of this case from Carroll v. State

declining to penalize criminal defendant for failing to anticipate a new rule of law announced after the defendant's trial

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Robison

refusing to punish criminal defendant for failing to anticipate a new constitutional rule recognized during the pendency of his direct appeal

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Gonzalez-Huerta

In O'Connor v. Ohio, 385 U.S. 92, 87 S.Ct. 252, 17 L.Ed.2d 189 (1966), the Supreme Court held that the failure to object at trial to a practice that Ohio had long allowed could not deprive the petitioner of his right to attack that practice in the state courts following its subsequent invalidation by the Supreme Court.

Summary of this case from Isaac v. Engle

In O'Connor the court held that a defendant is not charged with anticipating subsequent Supreme Court decisions for the purposes of making objections.

Summary of this case from United States v. Nolan

In O'Connor, the Supreme Court held, on direct appeal of a state defendant's conviction, that his failure to object at trial and during his first appeal in state court to the prosecutor commenting on his silence in closing argument, could not preclude him from raising that federal claim.

Summary of this case from Towler v. Manis

In O'Connor v. Ohio, 385 U.S. 92 (1966) (per curiam), however, the Court reversed the Ohio Supreme Court's finding that the appellant was not entitled to benefit from the new rule announced in Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609 (1965), based on his failure to raise the claim in the courts below.

Summary of this case from Commonwealth v. Hays

In O'Connor v. Ohio, 385 U.S. 92, 87 S.Ct. 252, 17 L.Ed.2d 189 (1966) (per curiam), however, the Court reversed the Ohio Supreme Court's finding that the appellant was not entitled to benefit from the new rule announced in Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609, 85 S.Ct. 1229, 14 L.Ed.2d 106 (1965), based on his failure to raise the claim in the courts below.

Summary of this case from Commonwealth v. Hays

In O'Connor, supra, the petitioner had previously come before the United States Supreme Court arguing "that the prosecutor's comment upon his failure to testify during his trial for larceny violated the constitutional right to remain silent."

Summary of this case from McClina v. State

In O'Connor v. Ohio, 17 L. Ed. 2d 189 (1966), the United States Supreme Court held that the failure of counsel to object was excused where the federal constitutional right in question (in that case it was Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609) had not yet been announced.

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

O'Connor v. Ohio

Case Details

Full title:O'CONNOR v . OHIO

Court:U.S.

Date published: Nov 14, 1966

Citations

385 U.S. 92 (1966)
87 S. Ct. 252

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