Smith v. Phillips case brief summary
455 U.S. 209 (1982)
Petitioner, a correctional
superintendent, sought review of a decision of the United States
Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirming a writ of habeas
corpus granted to respondent after respondent was convicted on two
counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
CASE FACTS Respondent was convicted of murder and
attempted murder and filed a motion to vacate his conviction based on
the fact that a juror in respondent's case submitted during the trial
an application for employment as a major felony investigator in the
district attorney's office. The office received the application, but
the juror was not contacted during the trial. Before the end of
respondent's trial, the prosecutors were informed of the situation
and determined that no more information about the juror was revealed
than during voir dire.
A decision affirming a grant of habeas corpus
to respondent was reversed.
Due process meant a jury capable and
willing to decide the case solely on the evidence before it.
determination that the juror was not biased was made after a hearing
by the trial judge.
Nothing in the case suggested that the
prosecutors' conduct was undertaken in bad faith.
The juror's conduct
did not impair his ability to render an impartial verdict.
The court reversed the judgment. Suggested law school study materials
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