GRIFFIN v. ILLINOIS
Judson Griffin and James Crenshaw were indicted for armed robbery in Cook County, Illinois. Following their conviction, in preparation for filling for an appeal, Griffin and Crenshaw requested a transcript of their trial proceedings without cost, on the basis that they could not afford the standard fee for the transcript. The lower court dismissed the petition without hearing evidence.
Did requiring Griffin and Crenshaw to pay a fee with their request for a transcript of their trial proceedings violate their rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment?
Legal provision: Equal Protection
Yes. In a 5–4 decision authored by Justice Hugo L. Black, the Court reasoned that there is "no meaningful distinction" between denying indigent defendants the right to appeal and denying them a trial. Because Illinois conceded that Griffin and Crenshaw could not file for appeal without a transcript, the Court found that their rights to due process and equal protection had been denied.