Napue v. Illinois

360 U.S. 264 (1959)

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Napue v. Illinois

United States Supreme Court
360 U.S. 264 (1959)

RW

Facts

Henry Napue (defendant) and George Hamer were accused of participating in the murder of a policeman. The jury convicted Hamer and gave him a long sentence. Hamer testified for the State of Illinois (plaintiff) against Napue in his trial for the same offense. On direct examination, the prosecutor questioned Hamer whether the state had promised any consideration in exchange for his testimony. Hamer denied the state had made any promise, but said the public defender had promised to do what he could for Hamer. The prosecutor repeated his question on redirect examination, and Hamer once again denied that the state had promised any consideration. In fact, the prosecutor had told Hamer that, in exchange for Hamer's testimony, the prosecutor would recommend a reduction in Hamer's sentence. The jury convicted Napue, largely on Hamer's testimony, and his appeal reached the United States Supreme Court. Napue contended the prosecutor's failure to correct Hamer's testimony, which the prosecutor knew to be false, violated Napue's Fourteenth Amendment right to due process.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Warren, C.J.)

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