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BROOKHART V. JANIS, 384 U. S. 1 (1966)

U.S. Supreme Court

Brookhart v. Janis, 384 U.S. 1 (1966)

Brookhart v. Janis

No. 657

Argued March 21-22, 1966

Decided April 18, 1966

384 U.S. 1


Petitioner, who had been indicted for forgery and other offenses, waived a jury trial. Though petitioner insisted that he was "in no way . . . pleading guilty," his court-appointed counsel consented to a "prima facie" trial which is a procedures -- conceded by the trial court to be the practical equivalent of a guilty plea -- whereby the State makes only a prima facie showing of guilt and the defense does not offer evidence or cross-examine witnesses. After hearing some evidence, including an out-of-court alleged confession of a codefendant, the trial court adjudged petitioner guilty and sentenced him. Petitioner brought this habeas corpus action in the Ohio Supreme Court claiming denial of his right under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to confront and cross-examine witnesses. That court upheld the conviction on the ground that petitioner had knowingly waived such right by his counsel's consent to the prima facie trial.

Held: Petitioner's constitutional right to plead not guilty and to have a trial where he could confront and cross-examine adversary witnesses could not be waived by his counsel without petitioner's consent. Pp. 347 U. S. 5-8.

2 Ohio St.2d 36, 205 N.E.2d 911, reversed and remanded.

Page 384 U. S. 2

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