The major issue in issue in this case between Brady and his companion Boblit who had both been involved in a murder case is due process of trial. The landmark US Supreme Court case was retried solely on the purpose of certain evidence being withheld by the prosecution during the initial trial (Brady v. Maryland, 1963). The defense attorneys identified that this was clearly a case of violating the Fourth Amendment right where due process was not accurately followed by the prosecuting attorneys. As a result, the attorneys believed that the initial verdict of capital punishment against the petitioner was unjust and should therefore be remanded. The conviction of the petitioner would however be affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Facts of Case
The crime in question is a murder case that was committed when the two defendants Brady and Boblit were robbing the deceased party. In this case, the two were arrested and during questioning Boblit had admitted to having been the one to commit the murder by himself. The two were tried separately as defendants of the murder case. As the robbery that led to murder was conducted in Maryland, they were tried under the laws of Maryland (Brady v. Maryland, 1963). Punishment for murder in Maryland is either life imprisonment or death. The jury has the power to restrict this punishment only to life but must clearly indicate that the defendant will not receive capital punishment. The members of the jury through the state constitution are considered to be the judges of law as per Article XV Section 5.
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The courts of Maryland had prosecuted Brady and Boblit on the charges of murder. When Brady was taken to the stand, he admitted on oath that he was involved in the murder but did not take part in the execution of the deceased. Boblit was the one who had done the actual killing. It was here that it was found that the prosecution had contrived the conviction of Brady by failing to provide the statement by which Boblit had confessed to committing the murder (Brady v. Maryland, 1963). This is despite the petitioner’s counsel asking to examine extrajudicial statements by Boblit. This is where the prosecution failed to present the confession statement by Boblit. It is evident that this caused the jury to convict the two of murder in the first degree and capital punishment as the verdict.
Court Decision and Reasoning
According to the petitioner’s counsel, the withheld document did not come to their notice until Brady was convicted and sentenced and his conviction had been affirmed. The petitioner sought for a new trial based on the new evidence that the prosecution had suppressed. The appeal was motion was dismissed by the Court of Appeal without prejudice. The exculpatory or impeaching evidence was determined as the case of the petitioner where the information that was material to guilt or innocence or to the punishment of the defendant (Brady v. Maryland, 1963). According to the Supreme Court, the state laws of Maryland do not identify the withheld evidence as exculpated hence the level of punishment given to the defendant would remain the same.
Opinion and Reasoning
The decision by the Supreme Court to affirm the Court of Appeals ruling is seen as correct as it seeks to make a ruling under the laws of the state of Maryland. Through these laws the jury serves as the judges in a criminal case. The withholding of the evidence by the prosecution was noted an action that could not change the verdict that the jury had provided to the defendant. Therefore, the only thing that may have significantly changed is the verdict of the jury in significantly lifting the capital punishment conviction against Brady.
Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) Retrieved from https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/373/83/case.html