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“Q. You didn't consider it sufficient? "A. Mr. Maire.
"Q. Mr. Maire told you that it wasn't sufficient, so you kept on questioning him until the time you got him to make a free and voluntary confession of other matters that he hadn't included in the first?
“A. No, sir, we questioned him there and we caught him in lies.
“Q. Caught all of them telling lies? “A. Caught every one of them lying to us that night,
"Q. Did you tell them they were lying?
“A. Just like I am talking to you. hand or regular writing I don't know, but he took it down with pen. After I told him my story he said it was no good, and he tore it up.
"Q. What was it Mr. Maire said?
"A. He told them it wasn't no good, when they got something out of me he would be back. It was late he had to go back and go to bed.
I wasn't in the cell long before they come back.
"Q. How long was that from the time you was brought into that room until Mr. Maire left there?
"A. Something like two or three hours, I guess, because it was around sunrise when I went into the room.
"Q. Had you slept any that night, Walter ?
"A. No, sir. I was walked all night, not continually, but I didn't have no time to sleep except in short spaces of the night.
"Q. When Mr. Maire got there it was after daylight? "A. Yes, sir.
"Q. Why did you say to them that morning anything after you were brought into the room?
"A. Because I was scared, ..."
Opinion of the Court.
"Q. You said "Jack, you told me a lie'? “A. Yes, sir."
After one week's constant denial of all guilt, petitione.s "broke.”
Just before sunrise, the state officials got something "worthwhile” from petitioners which the State's Attorney would “want”; again he was called; he came; in the presence of those who had carried on and witnessed the allnight questioning, he caused his questions and petitioners' answers to be stenographically reported. These are the confessions utilized by the State to obtain the judgments upon which petitioners were sentenced to death. No formal charges had been brought before the confessions. Two days thereafter, petitioners were indicted, were arraigned and Williamson and Woodward pleaded guilty; Chambers and Davis pleaded not guilty. Later the sheriff, accompanied by Williams, informed an attorney who presumably had been appointed to defend Davis that Davis wanted his plea of not guilty withdrawn. This was done, and Davis then pleaded guilty. When Chambers was tried, his conviction rested upon his confession and testimony of the other three confessors. The convict guard and the sheriff "were in the Court room sitting down in a seat.” And from arrest until sentenced to death, petitioners were never-either in jail or in courtwholly removed from the constant observation, influence, custody and control of those whose persistent pressure brought about the sunrise confessions.
Third. The scope and operation of the Fourteenth Amendment have been fruitful sources of controversy in our constitutional history. However, in view of its his
* There have been long-continued and constantly recurring differences of opinion as to whether general legislative acts regulating the use of property could be invalidated as violating the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Munn v. Illinois, 94 U. S. 113, 125, dissent 136–154; Chicago, M. & St. P. R. Co. v. Minnesota,
torical setting and the wrongs which called it into being, the due process provision of the Fourteenth Amendment-just as that in the Fifth-has led few to doubt that it was intended to guarantee procedural standards adequate and appropriate, then and thereafter,' to protect, at all times, people charged with or suspected of crime by those holding positions of power and authority. Tyrannical governments had immemorially utilized dictatorial criminal procedure and punishment to make scapegoats of the weak, or of helpless political, religious, or racial minorities and those who differed, who would not conform and who resisted tyranny. The instruments of such governments were, in the main, two. Conduct, innocent when engaged in, was subsequently made by fiat criminally punishable without legislation. And a liberty loving people won the principle that criminal punishments could not be inflicted save for that which proper legislative action had already by "the law of the land” forbidden when done. But even more was needed. From the popular hatred and abhorrence of illegal confinement, torture and extortion of confessions of violations of the "law of the land" evolved the fundamental idea that no man's life, liberty or property be forfeited as criminal punishment for violation of that law until there had been a charge fairly made and fairly tried in a pub
134 U. S. 418, dissent 461-466. And there has been a current of opinion—which this court has declined to adopt in many previous cases-that the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to make secure against state invasion all the rights, privileges and immunities protected from federal violation by the Bill of Rights (Amendments I to VIII). See, e. g., Twining v. New Jersey, 211 U. S. 78, 98–9, Mr. Justice Harlan, dissenting, 114; Maxwell v. Dow, 176 U. S. 581, dissent 606; O'Neil v. Vermont, 144 U. S. 323, dissent 361; Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U. S. 319, 325, 326; Hague v. C. 1.0., 307 U. S. 496.
Cf. Weems v. United States, 217 U. S. 349, 372, 373, and dissent setting out (p. 396) argument of Patrick Henry, 3 Elliot, Debates,
lic tribunal free of prejudice, passion, excitement, and tyrannical power. Thus, as assurance against ancient evils, our country, in order to preserve "the blessings of liberty," wrote into its basic law the requirement, among others, that the forfeiture of the lives, liberties or property of people accused of crime can only follow if procedural safeguards of due process have been obeyed.10
The determination to preserve an accused's right to procedural due process sprang in large part from knowledge of the historical truth that the rights and liberties of people accused of crime could not be safely entrusted to secret inquisitorial processes. The testimony of centuries, in governments of varying kinds over populations of different races and beliefs, stood as proof that physical and mental torture and coercion had brought about the tragically unjust sacrifices of some who were the noblest and most useful of their generations. The rack, the thumbscrew, the wheel, solitary confinement, protracted questioning and cross questioning, and other ingenious forms of entrapment of the helpless or unpopular had left their wake of mutilated bodies and shattered minds along the way to the cross, the guillotine, the stake and
19 As adopted, the Constitution provided, “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” (Art. I, § 9.) “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed” (Id.), “No State shall . · pass any Bill of Attainder, or ex post facto Law. ..." (Id., § 10), and “No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court” (Art. III, § 3). The Bill of Rights (Amend. I to VIII). Cf. Magna Carta, 1297 (25 Edw. 1); The Petition of Right, 1627 (3 Car. 1, c. 1.); The Habeas Corpus Act, 1640 (16 Car. 1, c. 10.), An Act for [the Regulating] the Privie Councell and for taking away the Court commonly called the Star Chamber; Stat. (1661) 13 Car. 2, Stat. 1, C. 1 (Treason); The Bill of Rights (1688) (1 Will. & Mar. sess. 2, c. 2.); all collected in "Halsbury's Stat. of Eng.” (1929) Vol. 3.
the hangman's noose. And they who have suffered most from secret and dictatorial proceedings have almost always been the poor, the ignorant, the numerically weak, the friendless, and the powerless. 11
This requirement-of conforming to fundamental standards of procedure in criminal trials—was made operative against the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. Where one of several accused had limped into the trial court as a result of admitted physical mistreatment inflicted to obtain confessions upon which a jury had returned a verdict of guilty of murder, this Court recently declared, Brown v. Mississippi, that "It would be difficult to conceive of methods more revolting to the sense of justice than those taken to procure the confessions of these petitioners, and the use of the confessions thus obtained as the basis for conviction and sentence was a clear denial of due process.
Here, the record develops a sharp conflict upon the issue of physical violence and mistreatment, but shows, without conflict, the dragnet methods of arrest on suspicion without warrant, and the protracted questioning and cross questioning of these ignorant young colored tenant farmers by state officers and other white citizens, in a fourth floor jail room, where as prisoners they were without friends, advisers or counselors, and under circumstances calculated to break the strongest nerves and
11 “In all third degree cases, it is remarkable to note that the confessions were taken from ‘men of humble station in life and of a comparatively low degree of intelligence, and most of them apparently too poor to employ counsel and too friendless to have any one advise them of their rights.'” Filamor, "Third Degree Confession," 13 Bombay L. J., 339, 346. “That the third degree is especially used against the poor and uninfluential is asserted by several writers, and confirmed by official informants and judicial decisions.” IV National Commission On Law Observance and Enforcement, Reports, (1931) Ch. 3, p. 159. Cf. Morrison v. California, 291 U. S. 82, 95.
12 297 U. S. 278, 286.