Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Green v. Georgia case brief

Green v. Georgia case brief summary
442 U.S. 95 (1979)

Petitioner, who was convicted of rape and murder, sought review of a judgment of the Supreme Court of Georgia, which affirmed the capital sentence that was imposed against petitioner.

Petitioner and a codefendant were indicted together for the rape and murder of the victim. During the sentencing phase of trial, petitioner sought to introduce the testimony of a witness who had testified for the State at the codefendant's trial. According to the witness, the codefendant had confided to him that he had killed the victim, shooting her twice after ordering petitioner to run an errand. The trial court ruled that the testimony constituted inadmissible hearsay.


  • On review, the Court held that the exclusion of the proffered testimony denied petitioner of a fair trial regardless of whether the testimony came within the state's hearsay rule. 
  • The Court determined that the excluded testimony was highly relevant to a critical issue in the punishment phase of the trial and that substantial reasons existed to assume its reliability. 
  • The Court found that there was ample evidence corroborating the confession, that the statement was against interest, and that the State considered the evidence sufficiently reliable to use against the codefendant.

The Court reversed the lower court's judgment, vacated petitioner's sentence, and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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