Payne v. Arkansas, 356 U.S. 560 (1958)
the Supreme Court of the United States
914598Payne v. Arkansas, 356 U.S. 560 (1958) — Syllabus1958the Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court of the United States

356 U.S. 560


Certiorari to the Supreme Court of Arkansas

No. 99  Argued: Mar. 3, 1958 --- Decided: May 19, 1958

Court Documents
Concurring Opinion
Dissenting Opinions

Petitioner, a mentally dull 19-year-old Negro with a fifth-grade education, was convicted in a state court of first degree murder and sentenced to death. At his trial, there was admitted in evidence, over his objection, a confession shown by undisputed evidence to have been obtained in the following circumstances: He was arrested ithout a warrant and never taken before a magistrate or advised of his right to remain silent or to have counsel, as required by state law. After being held incommunicado for three days without counsel, advisor or friend, and with very little food, he confessed after being told by the Chief of Police that "there would be 30 or 40 people there in a few minutes that wanted to get him" and that, if he would tell the truth, the Chief of Police probably would keep them from coming in. Held: Petitioner was denied due process of law contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment; the judgment of the State Supreme Court affirming the conviction is reversed; and the cause is remanded for further proceedings not, inconsistent with this opinion. Pp. 561–569.

(a) It is obvious from the totality of the course of conduct shown by undisputed evidence that the confession was coerced and did not constitute an "expression of free choice." Pp. 562–567.

(b) Even though there may have been sufficient evidence, apart from the coerced confession, to support a conviction, the admismission in evidence of the coerced confession, over petitioner's objection, vitiates the judgment, because it violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 567–568.

(c) Stein v. New York, 346 U.S. 156, distinguished. P. 568, n.15.

226 Ark. 910, 225 S.W.2d 312, reversed and cause remanded.

Wiley A. Branton argued the cause and filed a brief for petitioner.

Thorp Thomas, Assistant Attorney General of Arkansas, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief was Bruce Bennett, Attorney General.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).

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