GREEN v. GEORGIA
On December 12, 1976, Roosevelt Green, Jr. and Carzell Moore allegedly raped and murdered Teresa Allen outside Macon, Georgia. Green and Moore were tried separately, and each was convicted and sentenced to death. At Green's trial, the defense introduced the testimony of Thomas Pasby, who had testified at Moore's trial. According to Pasby, Moore admitted to him that he had killed Allen alone. The trial court refused to allow Pasby's testimony, considering it to be hearsay under Georgia law. On appeal, Green argued the refusal to allow Pasby's testimony constituted a violation of his right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, but the Supreme Court of Georgia denied his claim.
Did refusing to allow Pasby's testimony under Georgia's hearsay law violate Green's right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment?
Yes. In a per curiam opinion, the Court concluded that Pasby's testimony was "highly relevant to a critical issue in the punishment phase of the trial" and "substantial reasons existed to assume its reliability." Primarily, the Court noted that Georgia had permitted Pasby's testimony at Moore's trial. Thus, the state had already deemed the testimony reliable and valid.