Logourl black
From our private database of 14,200+ case briefs...

Smith v. Phillips

United States Supreme Court
455 U.S. 209 (1982)


Phillips (defendant) was convicted of murder in the state courts of New York. After being convicted, Phillips learned that one of the jurors had applied during the trial for a job as an investigator with the District Attorney’s office. Phillips appealed his conviction on the ground that the juror was impermissibly biased. Phillips’ conviction was upheld through the state courts. Phillips petitioned the federal district court for a writ of habeas corpus. The district court did not find sufficient evidence to conclude that the juror had actually been biased, but the court imputed bias and reversed Phillips' conviction pending a new trial. The court of appeals affirmed the district court’s decision. The District Attorney’s office petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, J.)

Concurrence (O’Connor, J.)

Dissent (Marshall, J.)

What to do next…

  1. 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 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. 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. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 252,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 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.