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Case / Legal Brief for Draper V. United States 358 U.S. 307 (1959)

Updated on July 16, 2012


This case will show you the case brief for Draper v United States case number 358 U.S. 307 (1959). Use this for reference, and please feel free to ask questions.

Case: Draper v. United States

Citation:358 U.S. 307 (1959)

Illustration: This case deals with whether or not information can be used in court without the actual witness being there.

Facts: Officer Marsh was a federal agent of 29 years, experience. An informant named Hereford had been engaged as a “special Employee” of the bureau of narcotics at Denver for about six months, and from time to time gave information to Marsh about violators of the law. On September 3, 1956 Hereford told Marsh That James Draper was “peddling narcotics to several addicts” in the city. On September 7th, Hereford told Marsh that Draper was going to Chicago to pick up three ounces of heroin and ring it back to Denver. Hereford described the exact clothing, description, and attributes of Mr. Draper, and concluded even where the drugs would be held. On September 9th Marsh made the arrest on Mr. Draper concluding that he matched the exact description from Hereford. Four days after the arrest Hereford died, and could not testify at the hearing on the motion.

Prior Proceedings: James Draper was prosecuted for knowingly concealing and transporting heroin in violation of federal narcotics laws. The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado denied Draper’s motion to suppress the heroin, and Draper was convicted. Draper appealed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction. The U.S. supreme Court granted certiorari and affirmed.

Court Decision/Opinion: The court has allowed the evidence that was provided in this case on the basis that the manner in which the information was provided. That because the informant was reliable in the past, and gave an exact description of the bag, clothing, and description of the suspect, that the police had all rights to arrest the suspect on probable cause.

What could have changed the case: If the suspect had not been wearing the clothing, or had the bag that was described by the informant, then this case would have most likely been thrown out.


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