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WILLIAMS v. OKLAHOMA CITY, 395 U.S. 458 (1969)

U.S. Supreme Court

WILLIAMS v. OKLAHOMA CITY, 395 U.S. 458 (1969)

395 U.S. 458

No. 841.
Argued April 1-2, 1969.
Decided June 9, 1969.

The denial to petitioner, an indigent who was convicted of drunken driving, of a copy at public expense of the trial transcript which he needed to perfect an appeal, to which he was entitled "as a matter of right" under Oklahoma law, is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

439 P.2d 965, reversed and remanded.

Jon F. Gray argued the cause and filed a brief for petitioner.

Giles K. Ratcliffe argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief was Roy H. Semtner.


Petitioner, an indigent, had no funds to pay for a transcript of the trial proceedings in the Municipal Criminal Court of Oklahoma City required to prepare the "case-made" needed to perfect his appeal to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals from his conviction for drunken driving and the imposition of a 90-day jail sentence and a $50 fine. * The trial proceedings had been [395 U.S. 458, 459]   stenographically transcribed pursuant to Oklahoma law, Okla. Stat. Ann., Tit. 11, 798 (1959), Okla. Stat. Ann., Tit. 20, 110-111 (1962), but the trial court had refused in the absence of statutory authority to order that a copy be provided petitioner at public expense, although finding that petitioner was an indigent whose grounds of appeal were not without merit, and that neither petitioner nor his appointed counsel could make up a transcript of the trial proceedings from memory. The Court of Criminal Appeals, in an original proceeding brought by petitioner, also refused to order that petitioner be provided a copy at public expense. The court agreed with the trial court that no Oklahoma statute or Oklahoma City ordinance authorized such an order, and held further that the Fourteenth Amendment did not mandate "that an indigent person, convicted for a violation of a city ordinance, quasi criminal in nature and often referred to as a petty offense, is entitled to a case-made or transcript at city expense in order to perfect an appeal from said conviction." 439 P.2d 965 (1968). We granted certiorari. 393 U.S. 998 (1968). We reverse.

The judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

MR. JUSTICE BLACK concurs in the result.

[ Footnote * ] The pertinent Oklahoma statutes provide as follows:

Okla. Stat. Ann., Tit. 22, 1059 (1958):

Okla. Stat. Ann., Tit. 22, 1060 (Supp. 1968):

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