Swisher v. Brady
Annotate this Case
438 U.S. 204 (1978)
U.S. Supreme Court
Swisher v. Brady, 438 U.S. 204 (1978)
Swisher v. Brady
Argued March 29, 1978
Decided June 28, 1978
438 U.S. 204
Appellee minors brought a class action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking, on the basis of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment as applied to the States by the Fourteenth, to prevent the State of Maryland from filing exceptions with the Juvenile Court to proposed nondelinquency findings made by masters of that court pursuant to a rule of procedure (Rule 911) permitting the State to file such exceptions, but further providing that the Juvenile Court judge, who is empowered to accept, modify, or reject, the master's proposals, can act on the exceptions only on the basis of the record made before the master, except that he may receive additional evidence to which the parties do not object. The District Court held that a juvenile subjected to a hearing before the master is placed in jeopardy, even though the master has no power to enter a final order, and that the Juvenile Court judge's review placed the juvenile in jeopardy a second time, and accordingly enjoined the appellant state officials from taking exceptions to either a master's proposed finding of nondelinquency or his proposed disposition.
Held: The Double Jeopardy Clause does not prohibit Maryland officials, acting in accordance with Rule 911, from taking exceptions to a master's proposed findings. Breed v. Jones, 421 U. S. 519, distinguished. Pp. 438 U. S. 214-219.
(a) The State by filing such exceptions does not require an accused to stand trial a second time, but rather the State has created a system with Rule 911 in which an accused juvenile is subjected to a single proceeding which begins with a master's hearing and culminates with an adjudication by a judge. P. 438 U. S. 215.
(b) A Rule 911 proceeding does not provide the prosecution the forbidden "second crack" at the accused, since, under the Rule, the State presents its evidence once before the master, and the record is then closed unless the minor consents to the presentation of additional evidence before the judge. Pp. 438 U. S. 215-216.
(c) Nor does Rule 911, on the alleged ground that it gives the State a chance to persuade two factfinders -- the master and the judge -- violate the Double Jeopardy Clause's prohibition against the prosecutor's
enhancing t,he risk that an innocent defendant may be convicted, since the Rule confers the role of factfinder and adjudicator only on the judge, who is empowered to accept, modify, or reject the master's proposals. P. 438 U. S. 216.
(d) There is nothing in the record to indicate that the Rule 911 procedure unfairly subjects the defendant to the embarrassment, expense, and ordeal of a second trial proscribed in Green v. United States, 355 U. S. 184, since, even if the juvenile participates and his attorney appears in the Juvenile Court proceeding (and it does not appear that this is the practice), the burdens are more akin to those resulting from a judge's permissible request for post-trial briefing or argument following a bench trial than to the "expense" of a full-blown second trial. Pp. 438 U. S. 216-217.
(e) To the extent the Juvenile Court judge makes supplemental findings in a manner permitted by Rule 911 -- either sua sponte or in response to the State's or juvenile's exceptions, and either on the record before the master or on a record supplemented by evidence to which the parties do not object -- he does so without violating the Double Jeopardy Clause's constraints. United States v. Jenkins, 420 U. S. 358, distinguished; cf. United States v. Scott, 437 U. S. 82. Pp. 438 U. S. 217-219.
436 F.Supp. 1361, reversed and remanded.
BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which STEWART, WHITE, BLACKMUN, REHNQUIST, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN and POWELL, JJ., joined, post, p. 438 U. S. 219.
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