1 minute read

Bute v. Illinois

Significance, Minority Opinion, Impact, Self Representation


Roy Bute


State of Illinois

Petitioner's Claim

By not being advised of the right to legal counsel nor being asked if he desired legal counsel, petitioner was denied a fair, impartial trial under the provisions of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Victor Brudney

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

William C. Wines

Justices for the Court

Harold Burton (writing for the Court), Felix Frankfurter, Robert H. Jackson, Stanley Forman Reed, Fred Moore Vinson

Justices Dissenting

Hugo Lafayette Black, William O. Douglas, Frank Murphy, Wiley Blount Rutledge


Washington D.C.

Date of Decision

19 April 1948


Failure to advise the petitioner of his right to legal counsel did not invalidate his sentences; the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause did not require a state court to ask a defendant if he desired counsel nor was a state court required to offer counsel.

Related Cases

  • Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45 (1932).
  • Betts v. Brady, 316 U.S. 455 (1942).
  • Uveges v. Pennsylvania, 335 U.S. 437 (1948).
  • Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1 (1957).
  • Kinsella v. United States, 361 U.S. 234 (1960).
  • Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963).


1991 Study of Self-Represented Litigants. American Bar Association.

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953