Glasser v. United States
315 U.S. 60 (1942)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60 (1942)

Glasser v. United States

No. 30

Argued November 13, 14, 1941

Decided January 19, 1942*

315 U.S. 60

Syllabus

1. Jud.Code § 275 provides that jurors in a federal court shall have the qualifications of jurors in the highest court of the State. Acts of the State of Illinois providing for jury service by women became effective before a grand jury in a federal court in that State was drawn from a box from which the names of women had been excluded. Under the state legislation, the making of state lists including women could be delayed for some time later.

Held, that the jury was not illegally constituted, in view of the short time

Page 315 U. S. 61

elapsed since the state law came in force, and the absence of any showing that women's names had appeared on the state jury lists in the counties comprising the federal district. P. 315 U. S. 64.

2. The record in this case shows adequately, though informally, that the indictment was returned by the grand jury in open court. P. 315 U. S. 65.

3. An indictment which is sufficiently definite to inform the defendants of the charges against them and shows certainty to a common intent, is good against demurrer. P. 315 U. S. 66.

4. Depriving the United States of lawful governmental functions by dishonest means is a "defrauding" within the meaning of § 37 of the Criminal Code. P. 315 U. S. 66.

5. A charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States of lawful governmental functions by bribery of a Government officer is distinct from a charge of bribery or of conspiracy to commit bribery. P. 315 U. S. 66.

6. Error which might be overlooked as harmless where the case is strong against the accused may be ground for reversal where the question of guilt or innocence is close. P. 315 U. S. 67.

7. A defendant in a conspiracy case is deprived of the assistance of counsel, contrary to the Sixth Amendment, where, over his objection, the court appoints his counsel to represent also a codefendant, where this is done with notice to the judge that their interests may be inconsistent, and where the counsel's defense of the first defendant is less effective than it might have been if he had represented that defendant alone. P. 315 U. S. 76.

8. Every reasonable presumption is indulged against a waiver of fundamental rights such as the right of the accused to have the full and untrammeled assistance of counsel in the trial of a criminal case. P. 315 U. S. 70.

9. The fact that a defendant in a criminal case is an experienced lawyer may be a factor in determining whether he waived his right to assistance of counsel, but it is not conclusive. P. 315 U. S. 70.

10. The trial judge should protect the right of an accused to have the assistance of counsel. P. 315 U. S. 71.

11. The right to have the assistance of counsel is too fundamental to be made to depend upon nice calculations by courts of the degree of prejudice arising from its denial. P. 315 U. S. 76.

12. The declarations of a conspirator are not admissible against an alleged coconspirator, who was not present when they were made, unless there is proof aliunde connecting the latter with the conspiracy. P. 315 U. S. 74.

Page 315 U. S. 62

13. Person connected as conspirators cannot have a new trial because of error prejudicial to a codefendant but not to themselves. P. 315 U. S. 76.

14. A verdict of conviction must be sustained if, taking the new most favorable to the Government, there is substantial evidence to support it. P. 315 U. S. 80.

15. Participation in a criminal conspiracy may be inferred from circumstance. P. 315 U. S. 80.

16. Defendants in a criminal case cannot complain of error in the introduction of reports a to which, when they were admitted in evidence, the trial judge informed the jury that they were admitted against another defendant only. P. 315 U. S. 81.

17. A district judge conducting jury trial in a criminal case has a sound discretion to interrogate witnesses and to limit their cross-examination. P. 315 U. S. 82.

18. Acts of the trial judge, complained of as lacking impartiality, were not such as to prejudice substantial rights of defendants. P. 315 U. S. 83.

19. Acts of alleged misconduct of the prosecuting attorney -- held not such as to call for reversal of convictions. P. 315 U. S. 83.

20. A motion for a new trial in a criminal case upon the ground that the jury was illegally constituted must be supported by the introduction or offer of distinct evidence; a formal affidavit, in the absence of a stipulation that it may be accepted as proof, is not enough, although it be uncontroverted. P. 315 U. S. 87.

116 F.2d 690, reversed in part; affirmed in part.

CERTIORARI, 313 U.S. 551, in three cases, to review a judgment sustaining convictions for conspiracy.

Page 315 U. S. 63

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Primary Holding

The Sixth Amendment is violated when a lawyer representing two criminal co-defendants has a conflict of interest between them.