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Brown v. Mississippi

Significance, True Confessions, A Travesty Of Justice, Due Process


Ed Brown, et al.


State of Mississippi

Petitioners' Claim

That their confessions to crimes they had committed, obtained during and after torture at the hands of police officers and the general citizenry, were invalid in court.

Chief Lawyers for Petitioners

Earl Brewer, J. Morgan Stevens

Chief Lawyers for Respondent

W. D. Conn, W. H. Maynard

Justices for the Court

Louis D. Brandeis, Pierce Butler, Benjamin N. Cardozo, Charles Evans Hughes (writing for the Court), James Clark McReynolds, Owen Josephus Roberts, Harlan Fiske Stone, George Sutherland, Willis Van Devanter

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

17 February 1936


Upheld the petitioners' claim and overturned the decisions of the trial court and Mississippi Supreme Court, ruling that the use of coerced confessions violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


Brown v. Mississippi established the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary to regulate state criminal law procedures when these violate constitutional guarantees of due process. The case was one of the first in a long line that gradually restricted the means available to law enforcement authorities seeking to obtain confessions and evidentiary statements from criminal suspects.

Related Cases

  • Snyder v. Massachusetts, 291 U.S. 97 (1934).
  • McNabb v. United States, 318 U.S. 332 (1943).
  • Ashcraft v. Tennessee, 322 U.S. 143 (1944).
  • Mallory v. United States, 354 U.S. 449 (1957).
  • Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1990.
  • Elliott, Stephen P., ed. A Reference Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court. New York: Facts on File Publications, 1986.
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940