Wardius v. Oregon,
412 U.S. 470 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Wardius v. Oregon, 412 U.S. 470 (1973)

Wardius v. Oregon

No. 71-6042

Argued January 10, 1973

Decided June 11, 1973

412 U.S. 470


At petitioner's criminal trial, a witness' alibi evidence was struck as a sanction for petitioner's failure to file a notice of alibi in accordance with Oregon's statutory requirement, and petitioner himself was not allowed to give alibi testimony. Following petitioner's conviction the appellate court, affirming, rejected his constitutional challenge to the state statute, which grants no discovery rights to criminal defendants.

Held: Reciprocal discovery is required by fundamental fairness, and it is insufficient that, although the statute does not require it, the State might grant reciprocal discovery in a given case. In the absence of fair notice that petitioner will have an opportunity to discover the State's rebuttal witnesses, petitioner cannot, consistently with due process requirements, be required to reveal his alibi defense. Pp. 412 U. S. 473-479.

Reversed and remanded; see 6 Ore.App. 391, 487 P.2d 1380.

MARSHALL, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. BURGER, C.J., concurred in the result. DOUGLAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the result, post, p. 412 U. S. 479.

Page 412 U. S. 471

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