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Hurtado v. California

Significance, The Right To Be Indicted, "ancient Established Law", "incapable Of Progress Or Improvement"




State of California

Appellant's Claim

Because he was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death without having been indicted by a grand jury, he was deprived of his right to due process of law under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

A. L. Hart

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

John T. Cary

Justices for the Court

Samuel Blatchford, Joseph P. Bradley, Stephen Johnson Field, Horace Gray, Stanley Matthews (writing for the Court), Samuel Freeman Miller, Morrison Remick Waite, William Burnham Woods

Justices Dissenting

John Marshall Harlan I


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

3 March 1884


The Fourteenth Amendment's requirement of "due process" cannot be held to include the rights specified in the Fifth Amendment, and that therefore Hurtado's conviction and death sentence should stand.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917