November 15, 2012
UNITED STATES v. WADE, 388 U.S. 218 (1967)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Billy Joe Wade was indicted and convicted of armed robbery of a bank in Eustace, Texas after two employees from the bank identified him in a lineup. The defenses moved for acquittal, arguing that the lineup was a violation of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. The trial court denied the motion. The Fifth Circuit reversed Wade’s conviction, holding that the lineup in the absence of counsel was a violation of the Sixth Amendment. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.
• The federally insured bank in Eustace, Texas, was robbed on September 21, 1964. A man with a small strip of tape on each side of his face entered the bank, pointed a pistol at the female cashier and the vice president, the only persons in the bank at the time, and forced them to fill a pillowcase with the bank’s money.
The man then drove away with an accomplice who had been waiting in a stolen car outside the bank.
On March 23, 1965, an indictment was returned against respondent, Wade, and two others for conspiring to rob the bank, and against Wade and the accomplice for the robbery itself. Wade was arrested on April 2, and counsel was appointed to represent him on April 26.
• Fifteen days later an FBI agent, without notice to Wade’s lawyer, arranged to have the two bank employees observe a lineup made of Wade and five or six other prisoners and conducted in a courtroom of the local county courthouse.
• Each person in the line wore strips of tape such as allegedly worn by the robber and upon direction each said something like “put the money in the bag,” the words allegedly uttered by the robber.
• The employees were crossed examined about the nature of the previous lineup.
• Both bank employees identified Wade in the lineup as the bank robber.
ISSUE: Whether courtroom identifications of an...