344 U.S. 443 (1953), 32, Brown v. Allen

Docket Nº:Nos. 32, 22, 20.
Citation:344 U.S. 443, 73 S.Ct. 397, 97 L.Ed. 469
Party Name:Brown v. Allen
Case Date:February 09, 1953
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 443

344 U.S. 443 (1953)

73 S.Ct. 397, 97 L.Ed. 469

Brown

v.

Allen

Nos. 32, 22, 20.

United States Supreme Court

February 9, 1953

Argued April 29, 1952

Reargued October 13, 1952

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

1. Where, on direct review of his conviction, a state prisoner's claim of federal constitutional right has been decided adversely to him by the state supreme court and an application to this Court for certiorari has been denied, he has satisfied the requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 2254 that state remedies be exhausted before a federal court may grant an application for habeas corpus. Pp. 446-450.

(a) It is not necessary in such circumstances that he pursue in the state courts a collateral remedy based on the same evidence and issues. Pp. 447-450.

(b) Section 2254 is not to be construed as requiring repetitious applications to state courts for relief. P. 448, n. 3.

2. A denial of certiorari by this Court (with no statement of reasons therefor) to review a decision of a state supreme court affirming a conviction in a criminal prosecution should be given no weight by a federal court in passing upon the same petitioner's application for a writ of habeas corpus . (Opinion of MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, stating the position of a majority of the Court on this point.) Pp. 489-497.

3. On a state prisoner's application for habeas corpus on federal constitutional grounds, the federal district court may take into consideration the proceedings and adjudications in the state trial and appellate courts. Pp. 457-458.

(a) Where the state decision was based on an adequate state ground, no further examination is required unless no state remedy for the deprivation of federal constitutional rights ever existed. P. 458.

(b) Where there is material conflict of fact in the transcript of evidence as to deprivation of constitutional rights, the district court

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may properly depend upon the state's resolution of the issue. P. 458.

(c) In other circumstances, the state adjudication carries the weight that federal practice gives to the conclusion of a court of last resort of another jurisdiction on federal constitutional issues, although res judicata is not applicable. P. 458.

4. Although in each of these cases the District Court erroneously gave consideration to this Court's prior denial of certiorari, it affirmatively appears from the record that the error could not have affected the result, and such error may be and is disregarded as harmless. Fed.Rules Crim.Proc., 52. Pp. 458-460.

5. On the application of a state prisoner to a federal district court for habeas corpus, when the records of the state trial and appellate courts are before the district court, it is within the discretion of the district court whether to take evidence and hear argument on the federal constitutional issues, and the action of the district court in not taking evidence or hearing argument in the case here involved was not an abuse of that discretion. Pp. 460-465.

6. In 28 U.S.C. §§ 2243 and 2244, the word "entertain" means a federal district court's conclusion, after examination of the habeas corpus application with such accompanying papers as the court deems necessary, that a hearing on the merits, legal or factual, is proper. Pp. 460-461.

7. In No. 32, petitioner, a Negro, was not denied due process or equal protection in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment by the method of selecting grand and petit juries from lists limited by state statute to taxpayers, though the lists had a higher proportion of white than Negro citizens. Pp. 466-474.

8. In No. 32, petitioner was not denied due process by the admission in evidence against him of confessions not shown to have been coerced. Pp. 474-476.

9. In No. 22, petitioner, a Negro, did not show by clear evidence that, in the selection of jurors which was actually made in his case, there was discrimination based solely on race; and petitioner's conviction cannot be set aside on that ground as violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The comparatively small number of names of Negroes in the jury box was insufficient, in itself, to establish such discrimination. Pp. 477-482.

10. In No. 20, the State Supreme Court had refused review on the merits of petitioners' conviction and death sentence (challenged on federal constitutional grounds) because of petitioners' failure to perfect their appeal within the 60-day limit applicable under state

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law, the appeal not having been perfected until the 61st day. Held: a failure to use a state's available remedy, in the absence of some interference or incapacity, bars federal habeas corpus. Pp. 482-487.

192 F.2d 477, 763, affirmed.

For Opinion of the Court, see post, p. 446.

For notation of MR. JUSTICE JACKSON, concurring in the result, see post, p. 487.

For notation of position of MR. JUSTICE BURTON and MR. JUSTICE CLARK, see post, p. 487.

For opinion of MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER as to the legal significance of this Court's denial of certiorari and the bearing of proceedings in state courts on disposition of application for writ of habeas corpus in a federal district court, see post, p. 488.

For notation of position of MR. JUSTICE BLACK and MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS on the same two points, see post, p. 513.

For opinion of MR. JUSTICE JACKSON, concurring in the result announced by the Opinion of the Court, see post, p. 532.

For dissenting opinion of MR. JUSTICE BLACK, joined by MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, see post, p. 548.

For dissenting opinion of MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, joined by MR. JUSTICE BLACK and MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, see post, p. 554.

No.32. Petitioner, a state prisoner, applied to the Federal District Court for habeas corpus, after his petition to this Court for certiorari to review the State Supreme Court's affirmance of his conviction had been denied. 341 U.S. 943. The District Court dismissed the application. 98 F.Supp. 866. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 192 F.2d 477. This Court granted certiorari. 343 U.S. 903. The case was argued at the October 1951 Term, but was restored to the docket for reargument. 343 U.S. 973. Judgment affirmed, p. 487.

No. 22. Petitioner, a state prisoner, applied to the Federal District Court for habeas corpus, after his petition to this Court for certiorari to review the State Supreme Court's affirmance of his conviction had been denied. 340 U.S. 835. The District Court dismissed

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the application. 99 F.Supp. 92. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 192 F.2d 477. This Court granted certiorari. 342 U.S. 953. The case was argued at the October 1951 Term, but was restored to the docket for reargument. 343 U.S. 973. Judgment affirmed, p. 487.

No. 20. Petitioners, state prisoners, applied to the Federal District Court for habeas corpus after this Court had denied their petition for certiorari to review the State Supreme Court's refusal to consider on the merits an appeal from their conviction. 339 U.S. 954. The District Court dismissed the application. 99 F.Supp. 208. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 192 F.2d 763. This Court granted certiorari. 342 U.S. 941. The case was argued at the October 1951 Term, but was restored to the docket for reargument. 343 U.S. 973. Judgment affirmed, p. 487.

REED, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE REED delivered the opinion of the Court.

Certiorari was granted to review judgments of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Brown v. Allen, 343 U.S. 903; Speller v. Allen, 342 U.S. 953; Daniels v. Allen, 342 U.S. 941. These cases

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were argued last year. As the records raised serious federal constitutional questions upon which the carrying out of death sentences depended and procedural issues of importance in the relations between states and the federal government upon which there was disagreement in this Court, we decided to set the cases for reargument. 343 U.S. 973. We have now heard the cases again.

The judgments of affirmance were entered October 12, 1951, on appeal from three judgments of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, refusing writs of habeas corpus sought by prisoners convicted in that state. We conclude that all required procedure for state review of the convictions had been exhausted by petitioners in each case before they sought the writs of habeas corpus in the federal courts. In each case, petitions for certiorari to this Court for direct review of the state judgments rendered by the highest court of the state in the face of the same federal issues now presented by habeas corpus had been denied.1

It is not necessary in such circumstances for the prisoner to ask the state for collateral relief, based on the same evidence and issues already decided by direct review with another petition for certiorari directed to this Court.2 It is to be noted that an applicant is barred unless he has "exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State . . . by any available procedure." The legislative history shows that this paragraph, in haec verba, was presented to the Congress with the recommendation of

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the Judicial Conference. The legislative history of § 2254 has no discussion of the considerations which moved congressional enactment other than that contained in S.Rep.No. 1559. But see a similar clause § 2254 in H.R. 3214, 80th Cong., 1st Sess.; H.R. 3214, 80th Cong., 2d Sess.; S.Rep.No. 1559, 80th Cong., 2d Sess., p. 9; Report of the Judicial Conferences of Senior Circuit Judges, 1947, pp. 17-20.

The second paragraph of § 2254 has been construed by several courts of appeals. In Ekberg v. McGee, 191 F.2d...

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