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Gerstein v. Pugh

United States Supreme Court
420 U.S. 103 (1975)



Pugh (plaintiff) was one of two defendants arrested under an information issued by a prosecutor in Dade County, Florida. County procedures provided for a probable cause determination only by way of preliminary hearing or arraignment. A preliminary hearing could not be held any earlier than 30 days after arrest. Arraignments were commonly delayed for at least 30 days after arrest. Pugh joined a class action suit in federal court asserting a constitutional right to a prompt judicial determination of probable cause. The district court held that criminal defendants charged by information were entitled to a timely judicial determination of probable cause. Before the district court issued its opinion, the Florida Supreme Court enacted a new procedural rule governing preliminary hearings. The district court reviewed the amended rule and found that it had not addressed the constitutional issues because defendants charged by information could still be detained without a probable cause determination. The court of appeals affirmed the district court decision. Gerstein (defendant), in his capacity as State Attorney for Dade County, petitioned the Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

Concurrence (Stewart, J.)

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