FIKES V. ALABAMA, 352 U. S. 191 (1957)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Fikes v. Alabama, 352 U.S. 191 (1957)

Fikes v. Alabama

No. 53

Argued December 6, 1956

Decided January 14, 1957

352 U.S. 191


In an Alabama state court, petitioner, an uneducated Negro of low mentality or mentally ill, was convicted of burglary with intent to commit rape and was sentenced to death. Two confessions admitted in evidence at his trial were obtained while he was held in a state prison far from his home, without the preliminary hearing required by Alabama law and without advice of counsel, friends or family. The first confession was obtained after five days of intermittent questioning by police officers for several hours at a time and the second five days later after more such questioning.

Held: the circumstances of pressure applied against the power of resistance of this petitioner, who was weak of will or mind, deprived him of due process of law contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 352 U. S. 191-198.

263 Ala. 89, 81 So.2d 303, reversed and remanded.

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