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Gladden v. Frazier

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
382 F.2d 777 (1969)


Facts

Frazier (defendant) and his cousin, Rawls, were indicted for murder in the state of Oregon. Rawls made a written confession and pleaded guilty. In Frazier’s trial, the prosecutor made an opening statement in which he told the jury that he expected Rawls to testify and stated what he anticipated would be Rawls’ testimony. The prosecutor did not mention that Rawls had confessed. After the opening statement, Frazier moved for a mistrial and the trial court denied his motion. When the prosecution called Rawls to the stand, he invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refused to answer any questions. Rawls was dismissed as a witness. Frazier moved again for a mistrial and was again denied. No other reference to Rawls or his confession was brought up during the remainder of the trial. Frazier was convicted and ultimately petitioned the federal district court for a writ of habeas corpus. The district court regarded the prosecutor’s opening statements as an admission of Rawls’ prior statements into evidence with no opportunity for Frazier to cross-examine Rawls. The district court granted the writ of habeas corpus and the state appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Madden, J.)

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