GERSTEIN V. PUGH, 420 U. S. 103 (1975)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103 (1975)

Gerstein v. Pugh

No. 73-477

Argued March 25, 1974

Reargued October 21, 1974

Decided February 18, 1975

420 U.S. 103


1. The Fourth Amendment requires a judicial determination of probable cause as a prerequisite to extended restraint of liberty following arrest. Accordingly, the Florida procedures challenged here whereby a person arrested without a warrant and charged by information may be jailed or subjected to other restraints pending trial without any opportunity for a probable cause determination, are unconstitutional. Pp. 420 U. S. 111-119.

(a) The prosecutor's assessment of probable cause, standing alone, does not meet the requirements of the Fourth Amendment, and is insufficient to justify restraint of liberty pending trial. Pp. 420 U. S. 116-118.

(b) The Constitution does not require, however, judicial oversight of the decision to prosecute by information, and a conviction will not be vacated on the ground that the defendant was detained pending trial without a probable cause determination. Pp. 420 U. S. 118-119.

2. The probable cause determination, as an initial step in the criminal justice process, may be made by a judicial officer without an adversary hearing. Pp. 420 U. S. 119-125.

(a) The sole issue is whether there is probable cause for detaining the arrested person pending further proceedings, and this issue can be determined reliably by the use of informal procedures. Pp. 420 U. S. 120-122.

(b) Because of its limited function and its nonadversary character, the probable cause determination is not a "critical stage" in the prosecution that would require appointed counsel. Pp. 420 U. S. 122-123.

483 F.2d 778, affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

POWELL, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in Parts I and II of which all other Members joined, and in Parts III and IV of which BURGER, C.J.,and WHITE, BLACKMUN, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. STEWART, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which DOUGLAS, BRENNAN, and MARSHALL, JJ., joined, post, p. 420 U. S. 126.

Page 420 U. S. 105

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