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Washington v. Texas

Washington v. Texas

Procedural facts. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed petitioner’s sentence for murder with malice. He tried to review by certiorari this judgment, but the trial court refused to allow it. The Supreme Court reversed this judgment and affirmed petitioner’s conviction for his sentence and murder. (This would consist of two or three sentences outlining the history of the courts the case has been through and how each of those courts handled the case and what they did with the case.)

Case Name Washington v. Texas

Case Citation 388 U.S. 14; 87 S. Ct. 1920; 18 L. Ed. 2d 1019; 1967 U.S. LEXIS 1083

Exact date decided June 12, 1967

Judge or Justice writing majority opinion Warren

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Facts of the case pertinent to the issue(s) in the case. The trial court refused to present the testimony of petitioner’s witnesses on the basis of Tex. Pen. Code. art. 82 and Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 711 state that participants in the same case have no right to testify for one another. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the petitioner’s conviction. The right to compulsory process was violated as the petitioner could not present testimony of other mentally capable participants of these events.

Issue(s) pertinent to chapters assigned for reading in the text. Did the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals correctly apply the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment? Was the denial of the petitioner’s rights to present testimony of other participants constitutional? (Put the issue(s) in the form of question(s).(Many cases have more than one issue – focus on those issues that are discussed in the chapters assigned for reading during the week the case is assigned for briefing.))

Court’s Decision – Warren and other eight judges claimed that the petitioner’s Sixth Amendment right to provide witnesses in his favor was as fundamental as it can be considered as a clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The defendant was incorrectly denied that right. (How did the court answer the issue questions – this should be more than one word answers.)

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Court’s Reasoning – All defendants have the right to have compulsory process for presenting witnesses in his/her favor under the Sixth Amendment. This procedure should be respected by all States according to the Fourteenth Amendment. The State decision to deny the petitioner of his right was arbitrary and incorrect. Warren states that the relevance and significance of other witnesses’ testimony was highly relevant and influential. As a result, certiorari was granted. The Court referred to Constitutional principles including the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment protecting such rights of defendants.
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(What rationale did the court use for making its decision? What cases did the court refer to and what did those cases say? Did the court refer to statutes or Constitutional principles, if so what were they and what did they say?)

Disposition – Reversed. The Chief Warren and other eight judges reversed the judgment of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. They affirmed petitioner’s conviction for his sentence and murder. They also protected his rights of presenting testimony of his witnesses. (Reversed, Reversed and Remanded, Affirmed are the three choices)

Dissent – Harlan presented his interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment and its applicability to a given case. He believed that the main issue was the recognition of the potential significance of the testimony of new witnesses. He suggested that the State recognized their significance but arbitrarily denied the implementation of this right. (Were there dissenting opinions? If so briefly state the author(s) of the dissenting opinions and why they dissented.)

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