434 U.S. 332 (1978), 76-6799, Smith v. Digmon

Docket Nº:No. 76-6799
Citation:434 U.S. 332, 98 S.Ct. 597, 54 L.Ed.2d 582
Party Name:Smith v. Digmon
Case Date:January 16, 1978
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 332

434 U.S. 332 (1978)

98 S.Ct. 597, 54 L.Ed.2d 582

Smith

v.

Digmon

No. 76-6799

United States Supreme Court

Jan. 16, 1978

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES

COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

In denying petitioner state prisoner's federal habeas corpus petition, the District Court erred in refusing to entertain petitioner's claim of constitutional error at his Alabama state trial, on the ground that the exhaustion requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b) had not been satisfied because such claim had not been presented to any state court where, although the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals had not referred to the claim in its opinion affirming petitioner's conviction, the claim in fact had been submitted in petitioner's brief and answered in the State's brief in that court.

Certiorari granted; reversed and remanded.

Per curiam opinion.

PER CURIAM.

Petitioner sought habeas corpus relief in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama from his sentence following a judgment of conviction for rape in the Circuit Court of Calhoun County, Ala. Among the allegations of constitutional error in his trial -- presented to the District Court in petitioner's traverse to the State's response to his petition -- petitioner claimed that the in-court identification of him by the prosecuting witness was the product of an out-of-court identification at an impermissibly suggestive photographic array and a later uncounseled lineup. The District Court refused to entertain this claim on the ground, recited in its opinion, that "this issue has never been presented to any state court." No. 77-A-0029-E (mem. filed Feb. 11, 1977). This conclusion was premised upon the absence of any reference to the contention in the reported opinion of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirming the conviction. Smith v. State, 57 Ala.App. 164, 326 So.2d 692 (1975). The District Court stated:

It is inconceivable to this Court that had

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Smith raised that issue [in the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals] that [that court] would not have written to it.

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied petitioner's pro se application for a certificate of probable cause and for leave to appeal in forma pauperis. No. 77-8141 (Apr. 20, 1977).

In his pro se petition for certiorari, petitioner asserted...

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