Palko v. Connecticut

302 U.S. 319, 58 S. Ct. 149 (1937)



Where the Fourteenth Amendment has absorbed privileges and immunities from the federal bill of rights, the process of absorption has had its source in the belief that neither ordered liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed.


Defendant appealed a decision by the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut, which sustained a death sentence imposed for first degree murder. Defendant claimed that Conn. Gen. Stat. § 6494, which allowed the State to appeal in a criminal case, violated the Fourteenth Amendment because it allowed defendant to be tried twice and thus subjected him to double jeopardy in violation of Fifth Amendment. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.


Were petitioner's rights violated?




The United States Supreme Court affirmed, holding that not all U.S. Const. amend. V rights were applicable to the states through U.S. Const. amend. XIV, and the state could choose not to adopt a right if it was not of the very essence of a scheme of ordered liberty, and its abolishment would not violate a principle of justice so rooted in the traditions and conscience of the American people as to be ranked as fundamental. The Court ruled that the state statute did not deny petitioner due process of law because allowing a retrial did not violate fundamental principles of liberty and justice where it was only done to ensure a trial free from substantial legal error.

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