UVEGES V. PENNSYLVANIA, 335 U. S. 437 (1948)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Uveges v. Pennsylvania, 335 U.S. 437 (1948)

Uveges v. Pennsylvania

No. 75

Argued November 15-16, 1948

Decided December 13, 1948

335 U.S. 437


1. Without being advised of his right to counsel or being offered counsel at any time between arrest and conviction, a 17-year-old youth charged in a Pennsylvania state court under four indictments with four separate burglaries, for which he could have been given maximum sentences aggregating 80 years, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to from five to ten years on each indictment, the sentences to run consecutively. The record showed no attempt on the part of the court to make him understand the consequences of his plea.

Held: he was denied due process of law contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 335 U. S. 438-442.

2. The due process clause of the Fifth or the Fourteenth Amendment requires counsel for all persons charged with serious crimes, when necessary for their adequate defense, in order that such persons may be advised how to conduct their trials. P. 335 U. S. 441.

3. The record before this Court adequately raised the federal constitutional question as to denial of the right to counsel. Pp. 335 U. S. 438-439.

4. Since it appears that in Pennsylvania habeas corpus is available to an accused whose constitutional right to counsel has been denied, and since the state does not suggest that it bars a remedy by habeas corpus in the circumstances of this case because no appeal was taken from the original conviction, this Court decides this case on its merits. P. 335 U. S. 440.

161 Pa.Super. 58, 53 A.2d 984, reversed.

Without a hearing, a Pennsylvania court of common pleas dismissed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus to

Page 335 U. S. 438

review petitioner's conviction, on his pleas of guilty, for four separate burglaries. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed. 161 Pa.Super. 58, 53 A.2d 894. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania denied a petition for allowance of an appeal. 161 Pa.Super. xxv, 53 A.2d 894. This Court granted certiorari. 334 U.S. 836. Reversed, p. 335 U. S. 442.

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