Brief Fact Summary. Defendant appealed from a death sentence, when it was determined by evidence that had been considered of his criminal record, because he was not given the opportunity for cross-examination.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Whether a defendant’s rights to due process have been violated when his criminal record is used against him as a means of enhancing his sentence.
Issue. Whether use of a defendant’s criminal record in sentencing is tantamount to a violation of their right to due process.
Held. Due process should not be considered a wall that is impenetrable by the evidentiary process that a judge must go through in determining sentencing. Affirmed.
Dissent. Justice Murphy, for the dissent, argues that due process accords a defendant a fair trial at every stage and, by including evidence of a criminal record at sentencing, without affording the defendant a means of rebuttal, the defendant is necessarily being deprived of that right.
Discussion. Due process is not a complete bar to the inclusion of evidence when it is to be considered by a Judge at the sentencing stage.