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United States v. Sutton

 United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
426 F.2d 1202 (1969)


Facts

The United States government (plaintiff) prosecuted Alexander Sutton (defendant) for murdering Matilda Glass. Police officers found Sutton lying wounded near Glass's body. At trial, the government proffered evidence of three notes found near Glass's body and a fourth note found in Sutton's clothes when he was taken to the hospital: (1) a note that referred to Sutton's difficulties with "Matilda," made an ominous reference to some future event, gave instructions for disposing of Sutton's property, and listed the names and addresses of Sutton's wife and daughter; (2) a note concerning the relationship between "Arthur" and an unidentified woman; (3) a love note from "Arthur" to an unnamed recipient; and (4) instructions to the finder to contact Sutton's mother, wife, and daughter at addresses matching those shown on the first note. The jury convicted Sutton. Sutton appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, arguing the government did not authenticate the notes and the judge should not have admitted the notes as evidence.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Robinson, 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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