From our private database of 33,600+ case briefs...
Pennsylvania v. Ritchie
United States Supreme Court
480 U.S. 39, 107 S.Ct. 989, 94 L.Ed.2d 40 (1987)
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (plaintiff) charged George Ritchie (defendant) with sexually assaulting his 13-year-old daughter repeatedly over a four-year period. The Children and Youth Services (CYS) of the State of Pennsylvania was the state agency responsible for the investigation. During pretrial discovery, Ritchie requested from CYS all records related to the charges, including a recorded interview of the daughter. CYS refused to comply, citing a Pennsylvania statute directing that CYS records remain confidential except upon court order. Ritchie argued that the CYS file might contain names of potential witnesses and unspecified exculpatory evidence. The trial judge denied Ritchie’s request without examining the entire CYS file. Ritchie’s daughter was cross-examined in depth at trial. Ritchie was convicted of all charges. On appeal, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that failure to disclose the CYS records was a violation of Ritchie’s right to full cross-examination of the victim. The superior court vacated the conviction and held that Ritchie was entitled to a new trial on remand unless the trial court determined that the failure to disclose was harmless error. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the superior court’s decision and further ordered that Ritchie was entitled on remand to review the full CYS file for potential evidence under the Confrontation Clause and the Compulsory Process Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)
Concurrence (Blackmun, J.)
Dissent (Brennan, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 602,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 602,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 33,600 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.