SMITH v. U.S.
Annotate this Case
409 U.S. 1066 (1972)
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U.S. Supreme Court
SMITH v. U.S. , 409 U.S. 1066 (1972)
409 U.S. 1066
Austin Louis SMITH et al.
Supreme Court of the United States
December 11, 1972
On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, with whom Mr. Justice BRENNAN concurs, dissenting.
Petitioners were convicted of sexually assaulting a fellow inmate while incarcerated in the Federal Youth Center in violation of 18 U.S.C. 13 and 1963 Colo.Rev.Stat. 40-2-31. Immediately following the assault, petitioners were placed in segregated confinement and were not arraigned until more than five months later, after an indictment had been returned. They appealed their convictions, in part on the ground that they had not been brought promptly before a United States Commissioner as required by Rule 5(a) of the Federal
Rules of Criminal Procedure.* The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that 'Rule 5 does not apply when the person affected is in custody pursuant to an unrelated valid conviction.' Accord, United States v. Reid, 437 F.2d 1166 (CA7 1971).
The result below stemmed from a narrow, technical reading of the word 'arrest' in Rule 5(a). Since petitioners 'were already in custody for unrelated convictions,' according to the Court of Appeals, they had not been 'arrested' for the alleged offense. The issue presented here is whether Rule 5(a) should be interpreted in this myopic fashion, without regard to the policies underlying Rule 5 as a whole.
Rule 5(b) requires the commissioner inter alia to 'inform the defendant . . . of his right to retain counsel, of his right to request the assignment of counsel if he is unable to obtain counsel . . .. He shall also inform the defendant that he is not required to make a statement and that any statement made by him may be used against him.' A basic purpose of this rule is to interpose a judicial officer between the accused and the accuser early in the process of custodial interrogation. This procedure insures that the accused is objectively and intelligently apprised of his rights and helps prevent the 'utilization of intensive interrogation, easily gliding into the evils of 'the third degree." Mallory v. United [409 U.S. 1066 , 1068]