The case was argued on January 6, 1940 in front of the court by Thurgood Marshall, representing four black men convicted for the murder of a white man in Florida.
The defendant Chambers, along with three other co-defendants, were four of up to forty transient black men arrested for the murder of Robert Darcy, an elderly local man, in Pompano Beach, Florida. The murder was greeted with outrage in the community and the Broward County Sheriff's department was apparently under pressure to close the case. Chambers and the other defendants were taken to Miami for questioning, ostensibly to protect them from the mob that had formed, and then to Fort Lauderdale.
It was not contested that the defendants were held without being able to see a lawyer or be arraigned for a period of a week, or that they were subject to questioning on a random basis, often alone in a room with up to ten police officers and other members of the community. In the legal climate before Miranda, they were not informed of their right to remain silent. After a week of questioning, and despite previous denials, the four co-defendants eventually confessed to the crime and were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. Their appeals to the Florida Court of Appeals was rejected on the grounds that the jury had ruled the confessions had been given voluntarily.
Read more about this topic: Chambers V. Florida
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