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Henry v. Mississippi

379 U.S. 443 (1965)

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Henry v. Mississippi

United States Supreme Court

379 U.S. 443 (1965)

Facts

The state of Mississippi (plaintiff) charged Aaron Henry (defendant) with disturbing the peace, indecent proposals, and offensive contact with a hitchhiker he picked up in his car. The hitchhiker testified at trial, giving a detailed description of the interior of Henry’s car. Henry could not be convicted without corroborative evidence. A police officer corroborated the testimony, having searched the car after Henry’s arrest. Henry’s wife had given the officer permission to search the car. The officer’s testimony supported the hitchhiker’s description that the car’s cigarette lighter did not work, and the ashtray was filled with red Dentyne gum wrappers. The defense did not object to the officer’s testimony. The defense later moved for directed verdict, arguing in part that the evidence was the fruit of an unconstitutional search. The trial court denied the motion. The jury convicted Henry. Henry appealed. Initially, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed, finding the search unconstitutional and ordering a new trial. The Mississippi Supreme Court reasoned that Henry’s counsel failed to object to the tainted evidence at the time it was introduced because counsel was from out of state and unfamiliar with local rule. The state then petitioned for reconsideration, noting that Henry was represented by local counsel familiar with local rule as well as by out-of-state counsel. The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the conviction, holding that the error did not relieve the defense of its obligation to object and that cross-examination of the officer cured the error. Henry appealed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)

Dissent (Harlan, J.)

Dissent (Black, J.)

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