Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stovall v. Denno case brief

Stovall v. Denno case brief summary
388 U.S. 293 (1967)

Defendant presented a petition for a writ of certiorari to review a judgment from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that affirmed the dismissal of his habeas corpus petition because the identification testimony used to convict defendant was admissible.

Defendant filed a habeas corpus petition that challenged the constitutionality of the victim's identification of defendant, which led to his conviction. The identification took place in the victim's hospital room and before defendant had the opportunity to obtain counsel. The district court and appellate court denied defendant's petition.

  • The court affirmed the judgment. 
  • The court refused to apply retroactively the rules that required the exclusion of identification evidence obtained by exhibiting the accused to identifying witnesses in the absence of his counsel. 
  • Retroactive application was inappropriate because law enforcement officials and courts relied upon the premise that the presence of counsel was not constitutionally required for pretrial confrontations for identification. 
  • Further, retroactive application would place a burden on the administration of justice. 
  • The identification was not so unnecessarily suggestive and conducive to irreparable mistaken identification that it violated defendant's due process rights because the record revealed that the hospital identification was necessary.


The court affirmed the judgment denying defendant's habeas corpus petition. The reliance and burden to the administration of justice factors precluded retroactive application of the ruling that required exclusion of identification evidence obtained without the presence of defense counsel.

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

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