MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.
The petitioner, Wayne Turner, was indicted in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, upon a charge of murder committed during the course of a robbery. After a three-day trial a jury found him guilty as charged. He was sentenced to death. The conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Louisiana,
The two principal witnesses for the prosecution at the trial were Vincent Rispone and Hulon Simmons. Both were deputy sheriffs of Tangipahoa Parish. On direct examination Rispone described in detail an investigation he said he had made at the scene of the murder. He further testified that he and Simmons later took Turner into custody, and that Turner had led them to a place in the woods where the cartridge clip from the murder weapon was recovered. Simmons corroborated Rispone's testimony about apprehending Turner and finding the cartridge clip, and also told of certain damaging admissions which he said had been made by Turner at the time of his apprehension. In addition, Simmons described the circumstances under which he said he had later prevailed upon Turner to make a written confession. This confession was introduced in evidence. Both Rispone and Simmons were cross-examined at length with respect to all aspects of their testimony. Turner did not take the witness stand in his own behalf.
The members of the jury were sequestered in accordance with Louisiana law during the course of the trial,
Two of the deputy sheriffs who were in this close and continual association with the jurors were Vincent Rispone and Hulon Simmons. Turner's counsel moved for a mistrial when Rispone testified as a witness for the prosecution, and made the same motion when Simmons testified. The brief hearings on these motions established that both Rispone and Simmons had in fact freely mingled and conversed with the jurors in and out of the courthouse during the trial.
The bill of exceptions filed by the trial court, upon which Turner's appeal to the Supreme Court of Louisiana was based, clearly included a Fourteenth Amendment claim.
While thus casting its judgment in terms of state law, the court's affirmance of Turner's conviction necessarily rejected his claim that the conduct of the trial had violated the Fourteenth Amendment.
This case does not involve the question whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to accord a jury trial to a defendant charged with murder.
The requirement that a jury's verdict "must be based upon the evidence developed at the trial" goes to the fundamental integrity of all that is embraced in the constitutional concept of trial by jury.
In the constitutional sense, trial by jury in a criminal case necessarily implies at the very least that the "evidence
It is true that at the time they testified in open court Rispone and Simmons told the trial judge that they had not talked to the jurors about the case itself. But there is nothing to show what the two deputies discussed in their conversations with the jurors thereafter. And even if it could be assumed that the deputies never did discuss the case directly with any members of the jury, it would be blinking reality not to recognize the extreme prejudice inherent in this continual association throughout the trial between the jurors and these two key witnesses for the prosecution. We deal here not with a brief encounter, but with a continuous and intimate association throughout a three-day trial—an association which gave these witnesses an opportunity, as Simmons put it, to renew old friendships and make new acquaintances among the members of the jury.
The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded to the Supreme Court of Louisiana for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
MR. JUSTICE CLARK, dissenting.
It is with regret that I dissent in this case. If I were sitting on the Supreme Court of Louisiana I would vote to reverse it and do everything possible to put a stop to the practice of permitting an officer who testifies in a case also to be in charge of the jury.
However, I cannot say that where no prejudice whatever is shown—as is the case here—the practice reaches federal due process proportions. I understand that it has the approval of the highest courts of a number of other jurisdictions
In view of this widespread acceptance of the practice I cannot say that it is violative of the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. Cf. my dissent in Rideau v. Louisiana, 373 U.S. 723 (1963).
"Q. Have you been assisting the other Deputies during the course of this trial, in retiring the Jury and in caring for their needs?
A. I have.
"Q. As much as any other Deputy on the Sheriff's staff? A. I would say as much.
"Q. Isn't it a fact that you have been sitting in this vicinity through the course of the trial? A. That is a fact.
"Q. Have you spoken at any time during the course of the trial to any of the Jurors? About anything? A. About anything?
"By the Counsel: Yes. A. I have.
"Q. In connection with providing for their needs . . . seeing that they were comfortable . . . showing them when to go into the Jury Room et cetera? A. Yes."
Simmons testified in part as follows:
"Q. Dy. Simmons have you been with the Jury during the course of this trial? A. I have been with them, yes sir.
"Q. On how many occasions, do you know? A. I can't answer that.
"Q. A number of occasions? A. I have been with them or around them throughout the trial.
"Q. Speaking to them about various and sundry matters? A. Yes sir.
"Q. Have you ever discussed this case with any one of them? A. No sir.
"Q. But you have spoken to them? A. I have talked to them, yes sir.
"Q. Made the acquaintance of some of them? A. I knew most of them.
"Q. But, you have made new acquaintances? A. I would say yes. One or two that I didn't know.
"Q. Do you get along well with the Jury Members? A. I try to get along with everbody [sic].
"Q. There has been no friction in your relationship during these last two days? A. Not as far as I know Sir.
"Q. Have you stayed here any night and watched over the Jury? A. No sir.
"Q. Have you had several meals with the Jury? A. I have had at least two meals with them.
"Q. Sitting at the same table with them? A. That is correct.
"Q. You have ridden in automobiles with them to and from the restaurant? A. I have.
"Q. Dy. Simmons you are the Chief Deputy? A. Chief Criminal Deputy, yes sir.
"Q. As such you have a position superior to the other Deputies on the Staff? In other words, are you considered the boss or the supervisor, or the superior of the other Deputies? A. I make an effort to supervise them, yes sir.
"Q. That is your job? A. That is my job.
"Q. In the conduct of the Jury is it not true that you have been in charge of this? A. Yes sir, I would say so.
"Q. You are the Chief Deputy Sheriff handling the Jury? A. Yes sir. I designate certain Deputies to do certain things with the Jury.
"Q. And some of the things you do yourself? A. That is correct."
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed . . . ." (Emphasis supplied.)