THE SUPREME COURT: Circumstances of Pressure

William Earl Fikes is a 30-year-old Alabama Negro under sentence of death for burglary with intent to rape the daughter of Selma, Ala.'s mayor in 1953. When Alabama's highest court upheld the decision, his lawyers brought the case to the U.S. Supreme Court on the ground that Fikes had been denied due process before and during his trial. After his arrest, they argued, Fikes had first been lodged in a local jail, then whisked away to a state prison, where he was held incommunicado for more than a week—during which state officers...

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