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Holloway v. Arkansas

United States Supreme Court
435 U.S. 475 (1978)


Attorney Harold Hall was appointed to represent three defendants charged in the same criminal activity. Prior to trial, Hall recognized that conflicting information he had received from each defendant might present a conflict of interest if the defendants decided to testify at trial. Prior to trial, Hall moved twice to have separate counsel appointed for each defendant. The trial court denied his motions. At trial, Hall advised the court that each defendant wanted to testify and that conflicts of interest would probably arise during the course of their testimony. The trial court concluded that each defendant understood the consequences of testifying on his own behalf and allowed them to take the stand. Holloway (defendant) took the stand and Hall advised him that he could not pursue any direct examination because it might tend to incriminate Holloway or one of his co-defendants. Hall testified that he had expected to be questioned while on the witness stand. Hall presented unguided testimony during which he denied involvement in the crime. Hall’s two codefendants presented similarly unguided testimony and both denied any involvement in the crime. All three defendants were convicted by the jury. All three defendants appealed their convictions through the state courts on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. The state supreme court upheld the convictions. Holloway and his co-defendants petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)

Dissent (Powell, J.)

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