Initiation of the Prosecution.

Indictment by a grand jury is not a requirement of due process; a state may proceed instead by information.1082 Due process does require that, whatever the procedure, a defendant must be given adequate notice of the offense charged against him and for which he is to be tried,1083 even aside from the notice requirements of the Sixth Amendment.1084 Where, of course, a grand jury is used, it must be fairly constituted and free from prejudicial influences.1085

Footnotes

1082
Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516 (1884). The Court has also rejected an argument that due process requires that criminal prosecutions go forward only on a showing of probable cause. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266 (1994) (holding that there is no civil rights action based on the Fourteenth Amendment for arrest and imposition of bond without probable cause). [Back to text]
1083
Smith v. O’Grady, 312 U.S. 329 (1941) (guilty plea of layman unrepresented by counsel to what prosecution represented as a charge of simple burglary but which was in fact a charge of “burglary with explosives” carrying a much lengthier sentence voided). See also Cole v. Arkansas, 333 U.S. 196 (1948) (affirmance by appellate court of conviction and sentence on ground that evidence showed defendant guilty under a section of the statute not charged violated due process); In re Ruffalo, 390 U.S. 544 (1968) (disbarment in proceeding on charge which was not made until after lawyer had testified denied due process); Rabe v. Washington, 405 U.S. 313 (1972) (affirmance of obscenity conviction because of the context in which a movie was shown— grounds neither covered in the statute nor listed in the charge—was invalid). [Back to text]
1084
See Sixth Amendment, Notice of Accusation, supra. [Back to text]
1085
Norris v. Alabama, 294 U.S. 587 (1935); Cassell v. Texas, 339 U.S. 282 (1950); Eubanks v. Louisiana, 356 U.S. 584 (1958); Hernandez v. Texas, 347 U.S. 475 (1954); Pierre v. Louisiana, 306 U.S. 354 (1939). On prejudicial publicity, see Beck v. Washington, 369 U.S. 541 (1962). [Back to text]