Sparf & Hansen v. U S, 156 U.S. 51 (1895)
January 21, 1895
U.S. Supreme Court October 1894: Melville W. Fuller (chief) Stephen J.
John M. Harlan
David J. Brewer
Henry Billings Brown
George Shiras, Jr.
Howell E. Jackson
Edward D. White
- The mere fact that one is confined under charge of a capital offense does
not make his confession involuntary.
- A general objection made on the joint trial of two persons for murder, by
counsel representing both, to the confession of one, made after the homicide,
and not in the presence of the other, as incompetent, is sufficient to entitle
the latter to have it excluded as to him. Mr. Justice Brewer and Mr. Justice
- In criminal cases, the determination of the law is for the court, and not
for the jury. Mr. Justice Gray and Mr. Justice Shiras dissenting.
- Where the evidence in a criminal trial tends to show the commission of the
crime charged. It is proper to instruct that there can be no conviction of an
offense included in or less than the one charged. Mr. Justice Gray and Mr.
Justice Shiras dissenting.
In Error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District
F. J. Kierce, for plaintiffs in error. Asst. Atty. Gen. Conrad, for the
Mr. Justice Harlan delivered the opinion of the court.