From our private database of 35,800+ case briefs...
Satterwhite v. Texas
United States Supreme Court
486 U.S. 249 (1988)
John T. Satterwhite (defendant) was charged with murder. Prior to appointment of counsel, the judge granted the prosecution’s request for Satterwhite to undergo a psychological evaluation to determine his competency, mental state at time of the crime, and future dangerousness. After counsel was appointed, the prosecution made a second motion for evaluation on the same three grounds, which the judge granted. Neither the motion nor the order was served on Satterwhite’s attorney. Satterwhite was evaluated by Dr. James Grigson, a licensed psychiatrist with over 12-years’ experience. Grigson found Satterwhite to be very dangerous, have antisocial personality disorder, and concluded that Satterwhite would likely commit future crimes. Satterwhite was found guilty of murder by a jury. To enter a death sentence, the jury had to find that the defendant’s conduct was deliberate and that the defendant was likely to commit future acts of violence and posed a continuing threat. Over Satterwhite’s objection, Grigson testified during sentencing that Satterwhite was a sociopath who could not be medically treated and that Satterwhite posed a serious danger to society. Satterwhite was sentenced to death and filed an appeal. The court of appeals found that even if Grigson’s testimony violated Satterwhite’s Sixth Amendment rights, the error was harmless because the record contained sufficient evidence to support the death penalty. The United States Supreme Court granted review.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)
Concurrence (Blackmun, J.)
Concurrence (Marshall, 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 620,000 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 620,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 35,800 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.