Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chambers v. Mississippi case brief

Chambers v. Mississippi case brief summary
410 US. 284 (1973)


CASE SYNOPSIS
The state supreme court (Mississippi) affirmed defendant's conviction for the murder of a policeman. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether defendant's trial was conducted in accord with principles of due process under U.S. Constitutional amendment XIV in light of the trial court's failure to allow defendant to cross-examine a key witness and the exclusion of exculpatory evidence by application of the hearsay rule.

CASE FACTS
Defendant was convicted of murdering a policeman. The state supreme court affirmed the judgment. The Court granted certiorari to consider whether defendant's trial was conducted in accord with principles of due process under the U.S. Constitutional amendment XIV in light of the trial court's failure to allow defendant to cross-examine a key witness and the exclusion of evidence by application of the state hearsay rule.

DISCUSSION
  • The Court reversed defendant's conviction. 
  • It held that the exclusion, under state hearsay rules, of exculpatory testimony that another party had committed the crime, which under the circumstances was likely to be trustworthy and within the rationale of the exception for declarations against penal interest, coupled with the State's refusal to allow defendant to cross-examine a key witness because of a common-law rule that a party may not impeach his own witness, denied him a trial in accord with fundamental standards of due process.

CONCLUSION

The court reversed defendant's conviction.

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