Giles v. Maryland
386 U.S. 66 (1967)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Giles v. Maryland, 386 U.S. 66 (1967)

Giles v. Maryland

No. 27

Argued October 12, 1966

Decided February 20, 1967

386 U.S. 66

Syllabus

Petitioners, who were convicted of rape and given death sentences which were later commuted to life imprisonment, brought this proceeding under Maryland's Post-Conviction Procedure Act alleging that they were denied due process of law by the prosecution's suppression of evidence favorable to them and by knowing use of perjured testimony. The evidence allegedly suppressed concerned (1) a proceeding in Prince George's County Juvenile Court pending prior to the alleged rape, in which a caseworker recommended probation for the complaining witness because she was beyond parental control, (2) an occurrence five weeks after the alleged rape, in which the girl had sexual relations with two men at a party and that night took an overdose of pills resulting in hospitalization in a psychiatric ward for nine days as an attempted suicide, and (3) a hearing in the Montgomery County Juvenile Court on the day of her release from the psychiatric ward which resulted in her commitment to a School for Girls. The Montgomery County Circuit Court ordered a new trial, holding that the proof did establish suppression of evidence which, although not in bad faith, constituted a denial of due process. The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed, holding that,

"for the nondisclosure of evidence to amount to a denial of due process, it must be such as is material and capable of clearing or tending to clear the accused of guilt or of substantially affecting the punishment to be imposed in addition to being such as could reasonably be considered admissible and useful to the defense."

Held:

The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the Maryland Court of Appeals for further proceedings. Pp. 386 U. S. 67-102.

239 Md. 458, 212 A.2d 101, vacated and remanded.

MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE and MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, without reaching the question of the extent of the prosecution's duty of disclosure, concluded that evidence of two police reports which were submitted to this Court but were not considered by the courts below in the post-conviction proceeding justifies a remand to the Court of Appeals for it to consider whether an inquiry should be ordered to determine the applicability

Page 386 U. S. 67

of the rule of Napue v. Illinois,360 U. S. 264, where it was held that a conviction must fall when the prosecution, "although not soliciting false evidence, allows it to go uncorrected when it appears," even though the testimony may be relevant only to the credibility of a witness. Pp. 386 U. S. 73-82.

MR. JUSTICE WHITE concluded that the case should be remanded to the Court of Appeals to obtain its views as to whether petitioners have been afforded a full and fair hearing on the issue of suppression of evidence concerning the mental condition of the complaining witness and the interrelated issues of her consent and credibility. Pp. 386 U. S. 82-96.

MR. JUSTICE FORTAS concluded that the judgment should be vacated because the State did not carry out its obligation to disclose all information which was specific and concrete, which was not merely cumulative or embellishing, and which might have exonerated the defendants or been of material importance to the defense. Pp. 386 U. S. 96-102.

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