336 F.2d 521 (9th Cir. 1964), 19052, Jackson v. People of Cal.

Docket Nº:19052.
Citation:336 F.2d 521
Party Name:Harold JACKSON, Appellant, v. The PEOPLE of the State OF CALIFORNIA, Appellee.
Case Date:August 14, 1964
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Page 521

336 F.2d 521 (9th Cir. 1964)

Harold JACKSON, Appellant,

v.

The PEOPLE of the State OF CALIFORNIA, Appellee.

No. 19052.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Aug. 14, 1964

Page 522

Paul A. Mansfield, San Jose, Cal., for appellant.

Stanley Mosk, Atty. Gen. of Cal., Raymond M. Momboisse, Deputy Atty. Gen. of Cal., Sacramento, Cal., for appellee.

Before BARNES, HAMLIN and JERTBERG, Circuit Judges.

HAMLIN, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Northern Division, denying the petition of Harold Jackson, appellant herein, for a writ of habeas corpus. Jurisdiction of this court is based upon 28 U.S.C. § 1291 (1958). Defendant was convicted after a jury trial in the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the City and County of San Francisco of kidnapping with resultant bodily harm. Since the death penalty was imposed, appellant took an automatic appeal to the California Supreme Court. People v. Jackson, 44 Cal.2d 511, 282 P.2d 898 (1955). That court reversed the finding of bodily harm (and with it the death penalty) on grounds of insufficient evidence, but affirmed the conviction of kidnapping for the purpose of ransom, and directed the superior court to impose a sentence of life imprisonment. Appellant did not petition the United States Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari after that decision.

Some six years later appellant applied to the California Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus on the grounds of misconduct of the trial judge and the prosecuting attorney. The California Supreme Court denied his petition and the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari.

Appellant then brought this habeas corpus petition in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Northern Division, on November 15, 1962. The district court issued an order to show cause to the warden of Folsom Prison. The warden made a written return thereto in which there was set out a summary of certain evidence given in the trial and in which certain legal contentions were made opposing the petition. On December 12, 1962, appellant filed a written traverse to the warden's return. Thereafter, on May 9, 1963, the district court filed a written memorandum and order denying appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Timely notice of appeal to this court was filed by appellant and his accompanying application for a certificate of probable cause was denied by the district court on the ground that the proposed appeal was without merit and not taken in good faith. A certificate of probable cause was later granted by this court.

The main contention made by appellant in the district court and in this court is that he has been denied a fair and impartial trial in violation of the due process requirement of the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution. The appellant makes no claim that the facts as to what occurred at the trial are in dispute. Indeed, he relies upon the facts shown in the record in the case. Upon oral argument counsel stated that the facts were not in dispute. Thus a hearing in the district court was not necessary. 1

At his trial in the state court, Jackson's main defense was that the asserted kidnapping was a hoax devised between Jackson and the victim to extort money from the victim's father. He also contended that the victim suffered no bodily harm during the claimed kidnapping. On appeal appellant also claimed that during his trial the trial judge and the prosecuting attorney were guilty of misconduct which required reversal. The contentions of appellant and the occurrences at the trial were discussed in detail by the Supreme Court of California in its opinion and rather than unduly lengthen this opinion we refer to that discussion, 44 Cal.2d at 517-521, 282 P.2d at 901-903. After this detailed discussion

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the Supreme Court said, id. at 521, 282 P.2d at 903-904,

'If this were not a case in which the overwhelming weight of the credible evidence tends to establish the guilt of the defendants of one of the crimes of which they are charged, the misconduct of the judge and prosecuting attorney, together with other errors, would compel the judgments of conviction to be reversed in their entirety.

'Under the mandate of Article VI, section 4 1/2 of the Constitution this court must dispose of the cause in such manner as to avoid a miscarriage of justice. It is conceded that the great weight of the evidence shows a kidnapping for the purpose of ransom. However, except for the manner in which the trial was conducted, the jury might have found in favor of the defendants on other issues presented by indictment.'

The court thereupon reversed the conviction as to the death penalty and directed the trial court to impose a sentence of life imprisonment for the crime of kidnapping for the purpose of ransom.

Article VI, section 4 1/2 of the California Constitution reads as follows:

'No judgment shall be set aside, or new trial granted, in any case, on the ground of...

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