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REECE V. GEORGIA, 350 U. S. 85 (1955)

U.S. Supreme Court

Reece v. Georgia, 350 U.S. 85 (1955)

Reece v. Georgia

No. 112

Argued November 9, 1955

Decided December 5, 1955

350 U.S. 85


1. Georgia law requires that objections of a defendant to the composition of a grand jury be raised before indictment. Petitioner, a Negro of low mentality, was indicted and convicted of a capital offense, but was not provided with counsel until the day after he was indicted. Before his arraignment, petitioner moved to quash the indictment on the ground that Negroes had been systematically excluded from service on the grand jury. This motion was denied on the ground that it was made too late.

Held: failure to consider the motion to quash on its merits was a denial of due process of law, and violated the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 350 U. S. 87-90.

(a) The indictment of a defendant by a grand jury from which members of his race have been systematically excluded is a denial of his right to equal protection of the laws. P. 350 U. S. 87.

(b) Where no opportunity to challenge the grand jury selection has been afforded a defendant, his right may be asserted by a plea in abatement or a motion to quash before arraignment. P. 350 U. S. 87.

(c) Assignment of counsel in a state prosecution at such time and under such circumstances as to preclude the giving of effective aid in the preparation and trial of a capital case is a denial of due process of law. Pp. 350 U. S. 89-90.

2. This case being properly here upon review of the second judgment of the Georgia Supreme Court therein, this Court has jurisdiction to consider all of the substantial federal questions determined in the earlier stages of the litigation, and reexamination of such questions here is unaffected by a ruling of the state court that its first decision became the law of the case. P. 350 U. S. 87.

211 Ga. 339, 85 S.E.2d 773, reversed and remanded.

Page 350 U. S. 86

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