Sims v. Georgia
389 U.S. 404 (1967)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Sims v. Georgia, 389 U.S. 404 (1967)

Sims v. Georgia

No. 678

Decided December 18, 1967

389 U.S. 404

Syllabus

In this case, before the Court for the second time, petitioner, a Negro sentenced to death for rape, again contends that the confession used at his trial was coerced through physical abuse and that the juries which indicted and convicted him were discriminatorily selected. This Court, without reaching these claims, previously remanded the case for a hearing on the voluntariness of the confession, 385 U. S. 385 U.S. 538, noting that the State had failed to produce as witnesses police officers who had been present at the time the petitioner claimed he was mistreated, and had thus failed to rebut petitioner's testimony regarding physical abuse prior to his confession. Though the facts as to the composition of the juries showed the percentage of Negroes listed on the racially segregated county tax digests from which the jury lists were compiled was far larger than such percentages on the jury lists, the State produced only a jury commissioner's testimony that he did not discriminate in compiling the lists. Following this Court's remand, the judge who had presided at petitioner's trial, without hearing further testimony and solely on the basis of the record previously before this Court, decided that the confession was voluntary, refused to decide other issues, and denied a new trial. The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed.

Held:

1. The State has again not adequately rebutted petitioner's claim that the confession resulted from coercion, and its second failure to produce the police officers as witnesses supports the conclusion that their testimony would not have rebutted petitioner's.

2. The manner in which the juries which indicted and convicted petitioner were selected was unconstitutional. Whitus v. Georgia,385 U. S. 545.

Certiorari granted; 223 Ga. 465, 156 S.E.2d 65, reversed and remanded.

Page 389 U. S. 405

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