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Leland v. Oregon

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Title: Leland v. Oregon  
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Subject: Capital punishment in Oregon, Insanity, Schlup v. Delo, Kyles v. Whitley, Dusky v. United States
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Leland v. Oregon

Leland v. Oregon
Argued January 29, 1952
Decided June 9, 1952
Full case name Leland v. Oregon
Citations 343 U.S. 790 (more)
72 S. Ct. 1002; 96 L. Ed. 1302; 1952 U.S. LEXIS 1955
Prior history Appeal from the Supreme Court of Oregon
The Court upheld the constitutionality of placing the burden of persuasion on the defendant when they argue an insanity defense in a criminal trial.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Clark, joined by Vinson, Reed, Douglas, Jackson, Burton, Minton
Dissent Frankfurter, joined by Black

Leland v. Oregon, 343 U.S. 790 (1952), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court upheld the constitutionality of placing the burden of persuasion on the defendant when they argue an insanity defense in a criminal trial.[1]

The defendant was convicted of killing a fifteen-year-old girl in Multnomah County. After being arrested for auto theft, the defendant asked for a homicide officer, verbally confessed to the murder, took the police to the scene of the crime, and signed a written confession. After being indicted, he then spoke to a lawyer for the first time. At trial, a jury convicted him and recommended the death penalty.

Oregon law required the defendant required proof of insanity beyond a reasonable doubt. The case claimed that the "statute in effect requires a defendant pleading insanity to establish his innocence by disproving beyond a reasonable doubt elements of the crime necessary to a verdict of guilty, and that the statute is therefore violative of that due process of law secured by the Fourteenth Amendment."


  1. ^ Bonnie, R.J. et al. Criminal Law, Second Edition. Foundation Press, New York, NY: 2004, p. 541

External links

  • Full text of the opinion at
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