REYNOLDS V. COCHRAN, 365 U. S. 525 (1961)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Reynolds v. Cochran, 365 U.S. 525 (1961)

Reynolds v. Cochran

No. 115

Argued March 2, 1961

Decided March 20, 1961

365 U.S. 525


In his petition for habeas corpus, filed in a State Supreme Court, petitioner alleged that, after he had finished serving his terms for two separate felonies of which he had been convicted and after he had been released, he was arrested by state authorities, taken to another county, and there brought to trial two days after his arrest on a charge of being a "second offender" in violation of a state statute. He further alleged that he told the trial court that he had already retained counsel for his own defense, that his counsel was on the way and was due to arrive on the day of the trial, and that he asked that his trial be postponed until his counsel arrived, but that the court denied a continuance and proceeded to convict him on the record of his two previous convictions and his admission that he had been guilty of those offenses, and he was sentenced to imprisonment. The State Supreme Court dismissed his petition without a hearing.

Held: the judgment is reversed, and the cause is remanded for further proceedings. Pp. 365 U. S. 526-533.

(a) Petitioner was entitled to an opportunity to prove his claim that he had been deprived of due process by the refusal of the trial judge to grant his motion for a continuance in order that he might have the assistance of the counsel he had retained in the proceedings against him. Chandler v. Fretag, 348 U. S. 3. Pp. 365 U. S. 527-531.

(b) If the trial court erred in denying petitioner's motion for a continuance, that error was not harmless under the facts of this case. Pp. 365 U. S. 531-533.

Reversed and remanded.

Page 365 U. S. 526

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