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Brady v. Maryland

Supreme Court of the United States

March 18-19, 1963, Argued ; May 13, 1963, Decided

No. 490


 [*84]  [***217]  [**1195]    Opinion of the Court by MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, announced by MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN.

Petitioner and a companion, Boblit, were found guilty of murder in the first degree and were sentenced to death, their convictions being affirmed by the Court of Appeals of Maryland. 220 Md. 454, 154 A. 2d 434. Their trials were separate, petitioner being tried first. At his trial Brady took the stand and admitted his participation in the crime, but he claimed that Boblit did the actual killing. And, in his summation to the jury, Brady's counsel conceded that Brady was guilty of murder in the first degree, asking only that the jury return that verdict "without capital punishment." Prior to the trial petitioner's counsel had requested the prosecution to allow [****4]  him to examine Boblit's extrajudicial statements. Several of those statements were shown to him; but one dated July 9, 1958, in which Boblit admitted the actual homicide, was withheld by the prosecution and did not come to petitioner's notice until after he had been tried, convicted, and sentenced, and after his conviction had been affirmed.

Petitioner moved the trial court for a new trial based on the newly discovered evidence that had been suppressed by the prosecution.  Petitioner's appeal from a denial of that motion was dismissed by the Court of Appeals without prejudice to relief under the Maryland  [*85]  Post Conviction Procedure Act. 222 Md. 442, 160 A. 2d 912. The petition for post-conviction relief was dismissed by the trial court; and on appeal the Court of Appeals held that suppression of the evidence by the prosecution denied petitioner due process of law and remanded the case for a retrial of the question of punishment, not the question of guilt. 226 Md. 422, 174 A. 2d 167. The case is here on certiorari, 371 U.S. 812. 1

 [****5]  The  [**1196]  crime in question was murder committed in the perpetration of a robbery. Punishment for that crime in Maryland is life imprisonment or death, the jury being empowered to restrict the punishment to life by addition of the words "without capital punishment." 3 Md. Ann. Code, 1957, Art. 27, § 413. In Maryland, by reason of the state constitution, the jury in a criminal case are "the Judges of Law, as well as of fact." Art. XV, § 5. The question presented is whether petitioner was denied a  [***218]  federal right when the Court of Appeals restricted the new trial to the question of punishment.

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373 U.S. 83 *; 83 S. Ct. 1194 **; 10 L. Ed. 2d 215 ***; 1963 U.S. LEXIS 1615 ****



Disposition:  226 Md. 422, 174 A. 2d 167, affirmed.


suppression, guilt, due process, confession, new trial, cases, murder, first degree, trial court, innocence

Criminal Law & Procedure, Discovery & Inspection, Brady Materials, General Overview, Preliminary Proceedings, Pretrial Motions & Procedures, Suppression of Evidence, Trials, Defendant's Rights, Right to Due Process, Brady Claims, Discovery Misconduct, Juries & Jurors, Province of Court & Jury