Bitter v. United States,
389 U.S. 15 (1967)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bitter v. United States, 389 U.S. 15 (1967)

Bitter v. United States

No. 201

Decided October 16, 1967

389 U.S. 15


Because of a single incident of tardiness, the trial judge ordered petitioner into custody for the duration of his criminal trial. The order, made without warning, hearing, or explanation, resulted in the retention of petitioner in custody for the balance of the trial in a jail 40 miles from the courtroom. Petitioner contended that the incarceration was unjustified, that it significantly interfered with his right to counsel, and that it severely impeded his defense. The Court of Appeals affirmed petitioner's conviction.

Held: The trial court's order was punitive; because the procedures for inflicting punishment had not been followed and because the order could not be justified as having been made in order to facilitate the trial, the order placed an unjustified burden on the defense.

Certiorari granted; 374 F.2d 744, reversed.

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