Question (1) Did the prosecution’s suppression of Boblit’s confession deny Brady due process?
(2) Was the Maryland Court of Appeals wrong to remand only on the question of punishment?
Yes, No. In a 7-2 decision, Justice William O. Douglas wrote the majority opinion affirming the state court. The Supreme Court held that the prosecution’s suppression of evidence violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court also held that according the Maryland state law, the confession would not exonerate Brady, so a remand only for reconsidering his punishment was proper.
Lawson was frequently subjected to police questioning and harassment when he walked in white neighborhoods. Lawson challenged the California law “that requires persons who loiter or wander on the streets to provide a ‘credible and reliable’ identification and to account for their presence when requested by a peace officer.”
Question Is the California statute unconstitutionally vague?
The law was unconstitutionally vague because it gave excessive discretion to the police (in the absence of probable cause for an arrest) whether to stop and interrogate a suspect or leave him alone. The majority hinted that the California statute compromised the constitutional right to freedom of movement.
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U S Supreme Court - San Diego ID Law - Kolender v. Lawson (461 U.S. 352, 1983)