Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mattox v. United States case brief

Mattox v. United States case brief summary
156 U.S. 237 (1895)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant assigned error to the action of the District Court of the United States for the District of Kansas which convicted him of murder.

CASE FACTS
Defendant was convicted of murder and assigned error to the court in assuming jurisdiction of the case, in admitting to the jury the reporter's notes of testimony of witnesses at the trial who had since died, and in refusing to permit the defendant to introduce testimony of witnesses to impeach the testimony of one of the deceased witnesses.

DISCUSSION

  • The court on appeal found no error and affirmed the action below. Jurisdiction of the case was proper, pursuant to statute. 
  • A copy of the stenographic report of the former testimony of the deceased witness, supported by the oath of the stenographer that it was a correct transcript, was competent evidence of what was said of the witness. 
  • It was also proper to exclude impeachment testimony of the deceased witness. 
  • The fact that the witness died did not excuse the requirement of laying a proper foundation.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the murder conviction. Jurisdiction of the case was proper and a copy of the stenographic report of former testimony of the deceased witness, supported by the oath of the stenographer that it was a correct transcript was competent evidence of what the witness said.


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