The U.S. attorney general under Truman (1945-49) was then appointed an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1949-67). Item #44905
Printed DS, 5pp, 9" X 6", [Washington, DC], 3 March 1974. Very good. Single veritcal fold, else near fine. Headed "Supreme Court of the United States" this printed self-cover pamphlet (apparently printed shortly after its 4 May 1964 date) presents Clark's "opinion of the Court" in the case of John Coleman vs. State of Alabama. Near the top of the first page, where it states "Mr. Justice Clark delivered the opinion of the Court," Clark crosses out "Justice Clark" in black fineline, signeing bold and dating it "3/3/74." Coleman was "a Negro convicted and sentenced to death for murdering a white man" and argued "his conviction as violative of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. He claims that, as a result of long-established practice in the county of his conviction, Negroes were arbitrarily and systematically excluded from sitting on the grand jury which indicted him and the petit jury which convicted him." It goes on, "Petitioner was convicted of the first degree murder of a white mechanic, the apparent motive being robbery. There were no witnesses to the killing and the evidence of guilt was circumstantial, based largely upon expert testimony given by the State;s toxicologist." Much legalese follows, but in the end "the petitioner is now entitled to have his day in court on his allegations of systematic exclusion of Negroes from the grand and petit juries sitting in his case. The judgment is therefore reversed...." As a former law enforcement official, Clark's opinions often supported government prosecutorial practices, although later in his tenure he modified his stance. Whether John Coleman's new trial returned an innocent verdict we do not know. Most unusual in this form.