Gordon v. United States - 344 U.S. 414 (1953)
U.S. Supreme Court
Gordon v. United States, 344 U.S. 414 (1953)
Gordon v. United States
Argued December 17-18, 1952
Decided Feb. 2, 1953
344 U.S. 414
Petitioners were convicted in a Federal District Court of unlawfully possessing and transporting goods stolen while in interstate commerce. On cross-examination, a key government witness admitted that (1) prior to the trial, he had given to government agents written statements which conflicted with his testimony incriminating petitioners at the trial, and (2) he had pleaded guilty in another federal court to unlawful possession of the same stolen goods, and had not yet been sentenced.
1. In the circumstances of this case, the trial court erred in denying petitioners' motion for the production and inspection of such conflicting written statements in the possession of the Government. Pp. 344 U. S. 417-421.
2. The trial court erred in excluding from evidence a transcript of the proceedings in the other court showing that, in accepting the guilty plea and deferring sentence of this witness, the judge had advised him "to tell the probation authorities the whole story, even though it might involve others." Pp. 344 U. S. 421-422.
3. The combination of these two errors was sufficiently prejudicial to require reversal of petitioners' conviction. Pp. 344 U. S. 422-423.
196 F.2d 886 reversed.
Petitioners were convicted in a Federal District Court of unlawful possession and transportation of goods stolen while in interstate commerce. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 196 F.2d 886. This Court granted certiorari. 344 U.S. 813. Reversed, p. 344 U. S. 423.