Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hurtado v. California case brief

Hurtado v. California case brief summary
110 U.S. 516 (1884)

Defendant sought review by certiorari of a judgment of the Supreme Court of California, which affirmed his conviction of murder in the first degree based upon an information and not a grand jury indictment.

An information was filed against defendant, charging him with murder. Without any previous investigation of the cause by a grand jury, defendant was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. Defendant was found guilty by a verdict of murder in the first degree and was then sentenced to death. Defendant appealed the judgment on the ground that he was not legally indicted by or presented to a grand jury, that the proceedings violated due process of law, as they were in conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. The lower courts rejected defendant's objections and affirmed the conviction.

  • The court affirmed, finding the substitution of an indictment by a grand jury by an information, which certified the probable guilt of defendant, combined with his right to the aid of counsel and to cross-examination of the witnesses, did not violate due process of law. 
  • The fact that the Fifth Amendment provided for indictment by grand jury did not mean that the states had to provide such a procedure in order to meet the minimum due process requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment.


The Court affirmed the judgment.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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