Brady v. Maryland
Annotate this Case
373 U.S. 83 (1963)
U.S. Supreme Court
Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963)
Brady v. Maryland
Argued March 18-19, 1963
Decided May 13, 1963
373 U.S. 83
In separate trials in a Maryland Court, where the jury is the judge of both the law and the facts but the court passes on the admissibility of the evidence, petitioner and a companion were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. At his trial, petitioner admitted participating in the crime, but claimed that his companion did the actual killing. In his summation to the jury, petitioner's counsel conceded that petitioner was guilty of murder in the first degree, and asked only that the jury return that verdict "without capital punishment." Prior to the trial, petitioner's counsel had requested the prosecution to allow him to examine the companion's extrajudicial statements. Several of these were shown to him, but one in which the companion admitted the actual killing was withheld by the prosecution, and did not come to petitioner's notice until after he had been tried, convicted and sentenced, and after his conviction had been affirmed by the Maryland Court of Appeals. In a post-conviction proceeding, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that suppression of the evidence by the prosecutor denied petitioner due process of law, and it remanded the case for a new trial of the question of punishment, but not the question of guilt, since it was of the opinion that nothing in the suppressed confession "could have reduced [petitioner's] offense below murder in the first degree."
Held: Petitioner was not denied a federal constitutional right when his new trial was restricted to the question of punishment, and the judgment is affirmed. Pp. 84-91.
(a) Suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused who has requested it violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution. Pp. 86-88.
(b) When the Court of Appeals restricted petitioner's new trial to the question of punishment, it did not deny him due process or equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment, since the suppressed evidence was admissible only on the issue of punishment. Pp. 88-91.
226 Md. 422, 174 A. 2d 167, affirmed.
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