From Casetext: Smarter Legal Research

Roberts v. Russell

U.S.
Jun 10, 1968
392 U.S. 293 (1968)

Summary

holding retroactive Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123

Summary of this case from Desist v. United States

Opinion

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT.

No. 920, Misc.

Decided June 10, 1968.

Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, which overruled Delli Paoli v. United States, 352 U.S. 232, and held that, despite instructions to the jury to disregard implicating statements in determining a codefendant's guilt or innocence, admission at a joint trial of a defendant's extrajudicial confession implicating a codefendant violates the codefendant's Sixth Amendment right to cross-examination, is to be applied retroactively, both to state and federal prosecutions.

Certiorari granted; judgment vacated and remanded.

George F. McCanless, Attorney General of Tennessee, and Paul E. Jennings, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.


In Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, decided May 20, 1968, we overruled Delli Paoli v. United States, 352 U.S. 232, and held that, despite instructions to the jury to disregard the implicating statements in determining the codefendant's guilt or innocence, admission at a joint trial of a defendant's extrajudicial confession implicating a codefendant violated the codefendant's right of cross-examination secured by the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. This case presents the question whether Bruton is to be applied retroactively. We hold that it is.

The facts parallel the facts in Bruton. The petitioner was convicted by a jury of armed robbery at a joint trial with one Rappe in Davidson County, Tennessee. A police officer testified that Rappe orally confessed to him that petitioner and Rappe committed the crime. The trial judge instructed the jury that Rappe's confession was admissible against her but that her statements implicating petitioner were not to be considered in determining petitioner's guilt or innocence. The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed petitioner's conviction. Petitioner filed a proceeding in federal habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. That court relied on Delli Paoli and denied relief. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed.

Although Bruton involved a federal prosecution and this is a state prosecution, the right of cross-examination secured by the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment is made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. Pointer v. Texas, 380 U.S. 400; Douglas v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 415.

"We have . . . retroactively applied rules of criminal procedure fashioned to correct serious flaws in the factfinding process at trial." Stovall v. Denno, 388 U.S. 293, 298. See Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368; Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335; Reck v. Pate, 367 U.S. 433; Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 639, n. 20; Johnson v. New Jersey, 384 U.S. 719, 727-728; cf. Brookhart v. Janis, 384 U.S. 1. Despite the cautionary instruction, the admission of a defendant's confession which implicates a codefendant results in such a "serious flaw." The retroactivity of the holding in Bruton is therefore required; the error "went to the basis of fair hearing and trial because the procedural apparatus never assured the [petitioner] a fair determination" of his guilt or innocence. Linkletter v. Walker, supra, at 639, n. 20. As we said in Bruton:

"[T]here are some contexts in which the risk that the jury will not, or cannot, follow instructions is so great, and the consequences of failure so vital to the defendant, that the practical and human limitations of the jury system cannot be ignored. . . . Such a context is presented here, where the powerfully incriminating extrajudicial statements of a codefendant . . . are deliberately spread before the jury in a joint trial." 391 U.S., at 135-136.

Due regard for countervailing considerations — reliance on the old standard of Delli Paoli and the impact of retroactivity upon the administration of justice, Stovall v. Denno, supra, at 298 — does not counsel against retroactivity of Bruton. The element of reliance is not persuasive, for Delli Paoli has been under attack from its inception and many courts have in fact rejected it. See Bruton v. United States, supra, at 128-135 and nn. 4, 8, 10. And even if the impact of retroactivity may be significant, the constitutional error presents a serious risk that the issue of guilt or innocence may not have been reliably determined.

The motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and the petition for writ of certiorari are granted. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is vacated and the case is remanded to the District Court for further consideration in light of Bruton v. United States, supra.

It is so ordered.

MR. JUSTICE BLACK concurs in the Court's holding as to retroactivity for the reasons given in his dissent in Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 640, and not for the reasons given in the Court's opinion today.

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN and MR. JUSTICE WHITE dissent for the reasons stated in MR. JUSTICE WHITE'S dissenting opinion in Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 138 (1968).


Summaries of

Roberts v. Russell

U.S.
Jun 10, 1968
392 U.S. 293 (1968)

holding retroactive Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123

Summary of this case from Desist v. United States

holding that Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S.Ct. 1620, 20 L.Ed.2d 476 is to be applied retroactively

Summary of this case from Barker v. Estelle

holding Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S.Ct. 1620, 20 L.Ed.2d 476, retroactive

Summary of this case from Johnson v. Hall

holding Bruton applicable to the States and retroactive

Summary of this case from United States ex rel. Seaman v. Cryan

holding Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123 retroactive

Summary of this case from State v. Hankerson

concluding that state courts cannot admit a defendant's out-of-court statements that implicate a codefendant if the declarant-defendant does not testify

Summary of this case from United States v. Deleon

granting retroactive application of Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S.Ct. 1620, 20 L.Ed.2d 476

Summary of this case from Hellard v. State

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, petitioner and a codefendant were jointly tried and convicted of armed robbery, to which the codefendant had confessed, implicating petitioner.

Summary of this case from Parker v. Randolph

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293 (1968), we reviewed a state criminal trial presenting facts substantially identical to those presented in Bruton.

Summary of this case from Nelson v. O'Neil

In Roberts v. Russell we held that the doctrine of Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, was applicable to the States and was to be given retroactive effect.

Summary of this case from Dutton v. Evans

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 293, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100 (1968) (per curiam), the Court held that its rule articulated in Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S.Ct. 1620, 20 L.Ed.2d 476 (1968), merited retroactive application.

Summary of this case from Fulcher v. Motley

In Roberts v. Russell, 1968, 392 U.S. 293, 295, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 1922, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100, 1103, the Court held that "[this] constitutional error presents a serious risk that the issue of guilt or innocence may not have been reliably determined.".

Summary of this case from United States v. Lucia

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100 (1968), the Court held that Bruton is to be applied retroactively and to both state and federal prosecutions.

Summary of this case from Davis v. Sigler

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100 (1968), Bruton was held to apply retroactively both to state and federal prosecutions.

Summary of this case from Wade v. Yeager

In Roberts the only question was whether Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S.Ct. 1620, 20 L.Ed.2d 476 (1968) was to be applied retroactively.

Summary of this case from Subilosky v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 294, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100 (1968), the Supreme Court held that the Bruton ruling was to be applied retroactively only where there was a confession "implicating" a codefendant.

Summary of this case from United States v. Lipowitz

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100, the Supreme Court held that the Bruton rule was retroactive.

Summary of this case from United States v. Levinson

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100 (1968), the Supreme Court held that Bruton applied retroactively because "the constitutional error presents a serious risk that the issue of guilt or innocence may not have been reliably determined."

Summary of this case from United States v. Guajardo-Melendez

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 294, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 1922, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100 (1968), the Supreme Court held that Bruton was to be applied retroactively to cases on collateral review because the constitutional error at stake in Bruton "presents a serious risk that the issue of guilt or innocence may not have been reliably determined."

Summary of this case from Fernandez v. Leonardo

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100 (1968), the Court retroactively applied Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S.Ct. 1620, 20 L.Ed.2d 476 (1968).

Summary of this case from United States v. Lenardo

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 295, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 1922, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100 (1968), the Court asked whether the procedures followed presented a serious risk that "the issue of guilt or innocence may not have been reliably determined".

Summary of this case from United States ex Rel. Cannon v. Johnson

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100, decided June 10, 1968, Bruton was made completely retroactive in effect.

Summary of this case from United States v. Sims

giving retroactive effect to Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123

Summary of this case from Wiggins v. State

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100, the Supreme Court held Brunton applicable to state proceedings.

Summary of this case from Lewis v. State

In Roberts v. Russell, 392 U.S. 293, 88 S.Ct. 1921, 20 L.Ed.2d 1100, the Supreme Court held that the Bruton decision was retroactive, and was applicable to a state proceeding.

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

Roberts v. Russell

Case Details

Full title:ROBERTS v . RUSSELL

Court:U.S.

Date published: Jun 10, 1968

Citations

392 U.S. 293 (1968)
88 S. Ct. 1921

Citing Cases

State v. Gray

The Supreme Court nevertheless reversed Bruton's conviction. The " Bruton Rule" was extended to state court…

People v. Brunson

These sentences to run concurrently. On April 9, 1969, our Supreme Court treated Brunson's petition for a…