404 U.S. 249 (1971), 70-5308, Wilwording v. Swenson

Docket Nº:No. 70-5308
Citation:404 U.S. 249, 92 S.Ct. 407, 30 L.Ed.2d 418
Party Name:Wilwording v. Swenson
Case Date:December 14, 1971
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 249

404 U.S. 249 (1971)

92 S.Ct. 407, 30 L.Ed.2d 418

Wilwording

v.

Swenson

No. 70-5308

United States Supreme Court

Dec. 14, 1971

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES

COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Petitioners' complaints relating to the condition of their confinement were held by the Missouri courts not to be cognizable by means of a petition for habeas corpus. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's subsequent dismissal of the habeas petitions on the ground that 28 U.S.C. § 2254 had not been satisfied because other types of state remedies might be available.

Held:

1. Section 2254 does not require petitioners to pursue alternative courses suggested by the Court of Appeals, since their availability was conjectural and, regardless of the remedy invoked, the state courts have not granted a hearing to state prisoners on the conditions of their confinement.

2. Petitioners were entitled to have their actions treated as claims for relief under the Civil Rights Acts, to which exhaustion requirements do not apply.

Certiorari granted; 439 F.2d 1331, reversed and remanded.

Per curiam opinion.

PER CURIAM.

On the ground that they challenged only their living conditions and disciplinary measures while confined in maximum security at Missouri State Penitentiary, and did not seek their release, petitioners' state habeas corpus petitions were dismissed. The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed. Petitioners then sought federal habeas corpus in the District Court for the Western District of Missouri. The District Court dismissed the petitions and the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed, 439 F.2d 1331. Although petitioners had exhausted state habeas relief the Court of Appeals agreed with the District Court that the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 2254 had not been satisfied because petitioners had not invoked any of a number of possible alternatives to state habeas including "a suit for injunction, a writ

Page 250

of prohibition, or mandamus or a declaratory judgment in the state courts," or perhaps other relief under the State Administrative Procedure Act. Id. at 1336.

I

Section 2254 does not erect insuperable or successive barriers to the invocation of federal habeas corpus. The exhaustion requirement is merely an accommodation [92 S.Ct. 409] of our federal system designed to give the State an...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP