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Pointer v. Texas

United States Supreme Court
380 U.S. 400 (1965)


Facts

Pointer (defendant) and Dillard were arrested for the robbery of Kenneth Phillips. At a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor examined the state’s witnesses, but neither Pointer nor Dillard had counsel. Phillips testified, identifying Pointer as the perpetrator who committed the robbery. Pointer did not cross-examine Phillips. Pointer was indicted for the robbery charge. Phillips later moved to another state with no intention of returning. Because Phillips was no longer available to give in-person testimony, the state offered the transcript of Phillips’s preliminary-hearing testimony as evidence at Pointer’s robbery trial. Pointer’s trial counsel objected, but the trial judge overruled the objection on the grounds that Pointer could have cross-examined Phillips at the preliminary hearing. Pointer was convicted, and he appealed, contending that the use of the preliminary-hearing transcript at trial violated his rights under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. The conviction was affirmed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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