Palko v. Connecticut 302 U.S. 319, 58 S.Ct. 149, 82 L.Ed. 288 (1937)
Palko killed two policemen
while fleeing the scene of a robbery.
He was arrested and charged
with first degree murder, under
Connecticut State law.
At trial, the judge improperly
excluded some of the prosecution's evidence.
The Trial Court found Palko
guilty of the lesser offence of second degree murder, and sentenced him to life in prison.
The prosecution appealed and
won a new trial.
This was allowed under
Connecticut State law, but would have been a violation of the 5th
Amendment under Federal law because
it would be trying him twice for the same crime.
Aka double jeopardy.
It was allowed under
Connecticut State law because they took the position that the goal was an
error-free trial, and if errors had been made, the case should be
retried, no matter who benefited from those errors.
At the new trial, Palko was
found guilty of first degree murder
and sentenced to death. Palko appealed.
Palko argued that the second
trial was unconstitutional.
Amendment protects a defendant
against double jeopardy.
Palko argued that the 14th
Amendment makes the Bill of Rights
applicable to the States.
The US Supreme Court upheld
The US Supreme Court found
that the Due Process Clause of the
14thAmendment only protected those rights that
were "essential to a fundamental scheme of ordered liberty,"
In this case, the Court
found that the double jeopardy
protection was not "essential to a fundamental scheme of ordered
Basically, the Court asked
if it was possible to have a trial
that could been considered fundamentally fair under the Connecticut standard. They decided
The Court felt that as long
as the trial was fair, it didn't matter if it was identical to the
The case applied what was
known as the fundamental fairness approach
for incorporating the Bill of Rights into State law.
The other approaches are the
total incorporation approach and
the selective incorporation
This case was later overruled
by Benton v. Maryland (395 U.S.