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CASH V. CULVER, 358 U. S. 633 (1959)

U.S. Supreme Court

Cash v. Culver, 358 U.S. 633 (1959)

Cash v. Culver

No. 91

Argued January 22, 1959

Decided February 24, 1959

358 U.S. 633


At a trial in a state court at which he was not represented by counsel, petitioner was convicted of burglary and sentenced to imprisonment for 15 years. No appeal was taken, and the State Supreme Court denied without a hearing a petition for habeas corpus which he filed later and in which he alleged, inter alia, that: he was 20 years old, uneducated and inexperienced in court trials. He was represented by counsel at an earlier trial for the same offense which resulted in a hung jury. He was then placed in solitary confinement, pending a new trial of which he was not notified until the day before it began. Meanwhile, his counsel had withdrawn from the case and his mother had made several unsuccessful attempts to obtain other counsel. At the trial, he was denied both the appointment of counsel for his defense and a continuance to enable him to obtain counsel. His conviction was based largely on the testimony of an alleged accomplice who pleaded guilty and testified for the State -- not only regarding the crime for which petitioner was being tried, but also regarding other alleged crimes.

Held: if petitioner's allegations be true, he was denied the due process of law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and it was incumbent on the state courts to determine what the true facts were. Pp. 358 U. S. 633-638.


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