Tumey v. Ohio
273 U.S. 510 (1927)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Tumey v. Ohio, 273 U.S. 510 (1927)

Tumey v. Ohio

No. 527

Argued November 29, 30, 1926

Decided March 7, 1927

273 U.S. 510

Syllabus

1. To subject a defendant to trial in a criminal case involving his liberty or property before a judge having a direct, personal, substantial interest in convicting him is a denial of due process of law. P. 273 U. S. 522.

2. A system by which an inferior judge is paid for his service only when he convicts the defendant has not become so customary in the common law or in this country that it can be regarded as due process where the costs usually imposed are not so small as to be within the maxim de minimis non curat lex. Pp. 273 U. S. 523, 273 U. S. 531.

Page 273 U. S. 511

3. Under statutes of Ohio, offenses against State prohibition, involving a wide range of fines enforceable by imprisonment, may be tried without a jury, before the mayor of any rural village situate in the county (however populous) in which offenses occur; his judgment upon the facts is final and conclusive unless so clearly unsupported as to indicate mistake, bias, or willful disregard of duty; the fines are divided between the State and village; the village, by means of the fines collected, hires attorneys and detectives to arrest alleged offenders anywhere in the county and prosecute them before the mayor; in addition to his salary, the mayor, when he convicts, but not otherwise, receive his fees and cost amounting to a substantial income; the fine offer a means of adding materially to the financial prosperity of the village, for which the mayor, in his executive capacity, is responsible. Held violative of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 273 U. S. 520, 273 U. S. 531.

115 Oh.St. 701, reversed.

ERROR to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Ohio which declined to review a judgment of the State Court of Appeals, 22 Oh.L.Rep. 634, reversing a judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Hamilton County, 25 Oh.Nisi Prius (N.S.) 580, which reversed a judgment of the Mayor of the Village of North College Hill convicting and fining Tumey for violation of the Ohio Prohibition Act and ordering that he be imprisoned until the fine and costs were paid.

Page 273 U. S. 514

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