Autry v. Estelle, No. A-197

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; BRENNAN; Justice STEVENS, with whom Justice BRENNAN
Citation464 U.S. 1,78 L.Ed.2d 1,104 S.Ct. 20
Decision Date03 October 1983
Docket NumberNo. A-197
PartiesJames David AUTRY, Petitioner, v. W.J. ESTELLE, Jr., Director, Texas Department of Corrections

464 U.S. 1
104 S.Ct. 20
78 L.Ed.2d 1
James David AUTRY, Petitioner,

v.

W.J. ESTELLE, Jr., Director, Texas Department of Corrections.

No. A-197.
Oct. 3, 1983.

PER CURIAM.

Applicant was sentenced to death for killing two people while robbing a convenience store. His conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Texas Court of Criminal Ap-

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peals. We denied certiorari. Applicant then sought habeas corpus in the state system; that request was denied. He then filed for habeas corpus in the federal district court, presenting some of the same claims that had been unavailing in the state courts. The District Court held a hearing and filed an opinion denying the writ. In a detailed opinion, 706 F.2d 1394, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court. It denied rehearing, 712 F.2d 1416, as well as a stay pending the filing of a petition for certiorari in this Court. Applicant then sought a stay from the Circuit Justice, who referred the application to the Court. Absent a stay, applicant will be executed on October 5.

The application for stay is denied. The grounds on which applicant would request certiorari are amply evident from his application and from the opinions and the proceedings in the District Court and the Court of Appeals. Had applicant convinced four members of the Court that certiorari would be granted on any of his claims, a stay would issue. But this is not the case; fewer than four Justices would grant certiorari. Applicant thus fails to satisfy one of the basic requirements for the issuance of a stay.

Nor are we inclined to adopt a rule calling for an automatic stay, regardless of the merits of the claims presented, where the applicant is seeking review of the denial of his first federal habeas corpus petition. Petitioner has twice sought relief in the state court system. He has also presented his claims to the United States District Court and to the Court of Appeals. None of these judges found sufficient merit in any of applicant's claims to warrant setting aside applicant's conviction or his death sentence. Nor did any of the judges of the Court of Appeals believe that a stay pending certiorari was warranted. Those judges, stating that they were "fully sensitive to the consequences of our judgment and our oaths," 706 F.2d 1394, 1408, found each of applicant's claims to be without merit and affirmed the dismissal of his habeas corpus

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petition. In these circumstances, it is quite appropriate to deny a stay of applicant's sentence, just as we do in other criminal cases that we are convinced do not merit review in this Court. As the Court said just last term in Barefoot v. Estelle, --- U.S. ----, ----, 103 S.Ct. 3383, 3391, 77 L.Ed.2d 1090:

"[I]t must be remembered that direct appeal is the primary avenue for review of a conviction or sentence, and death penalty cases are no exception. When the process of direct review—which, if a federal question is involved, includes the right to petition this Court for a writ of certiorari—comes to an end, a presumption of finality and legality attaches to the conviction and sentence. The role of federal habeas proceedings, while important in assuring that constitutional rights are observed, is secondary and limited. Federal courts are not forums in which to relitigate state trials. Even less is federal habeas a means by which a defendant is entitled to delay an execution indefinitely. The procedures adopted to facilitate the orderly consideration and disposition of habeas petitions are not legal entitlements that a defendant has a right to pursue irrespective of the contribution these procedures make toward uncovering constitutional error."

Justice BRENNAN, with whom...

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36 practice notes
  • Hatch v. State of Okl., No. 94-6052
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • June 14, 1995
    ...is secondary and limited." Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880, 887, 103 S.Ct. 3383, 3392, 77 L.Ed.2d 1090 (1983); see also Autry v. Estelle, 464 U.S. 1, 3, 104 S.Ct. 20, 22, 78 L.Ed.2d 1 (1983) (per curiam). Although we review legal conclusions de novo, Brewer v. Reynolds, 51 F.3d 1519, 1522......
  • Strickland v. Washington, No. 82-1554
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 14, 1984
    ...seeking review of their client's death sentences of turning "the administration of justice into [a] sporting contest"); Autry v. Estelle, 464 U.S. 1, 6, 104 S.Ct. 20, 23, 78 L.Ed.2d 1 (1983) (STEVENS, J., dissenting) (suggesting that Court's practice in reviewing applications in death cases......
  • Stroud v. Lester, No. 10-2624-STA-cgc
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Western District of Tennessee
    • September 27, 2013
    ...that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different." Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694, 104 S. Ct. at 20 68.106 "A reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome." Id. at 694, 104 S. Ct. at 2068. "It is ......
  • Walker v. Epps, CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:97CV29KS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • March 27, 2012
    ...as the United States Supreme Court has explained, "Federal Courts are not forums in which to relitigate state trials." Autry v. Estelle, 464 U.S. 1, 3 (1983). Mississippi has construed this aggravating circumstance "to refer to purposefully killing the victim of an underlying felony to avoi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
36 cases
  • Hatch v. State of Okl., No. 94-6052
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • June 14, 1995
    ...and limited." Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880, 887, 103 S.Ct. 3383, 3392, 77 L.Ed.2d 1090 (1983); see also Autry v. Estelle, 464 U.S. 1, 3, 104 S.Ct. 20, 22, 78 L.Ed.2d 1 (1983) (per curiam). Although we review legal conclusions de novo, Brewer v. Reynolds, 51 F.3d 1519, 1522-23 (10t......
  • Strickland v. Washington, No. 82-1554
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 14, 1984
    ...review of their client's death sentences of turning "the administration of justice into [a] sporting contest"); Autry v. Estelle, 464 U.S. 1, 6, 104 S.Ct. 20, 23, 78 L.Ed.2d 1 (1983) (STEVENS, J., dissenting) (suggesting that Court's practice in reviewing applications in death cas......
  • Stroud v. Lester, No. 10-2624-STA-cgc
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Western District of Tennessee
    • September 27, 2013
    ...but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different." Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694, 104 S. Ct. at 20 68.106 "A reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome." Id. at 694, 104 S. Ct. at 2068......
  • Walker v. Epps, CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:97CV29KS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • March 27, 2012
    ...United States Supreme Court has explained, "Federal Courts are not forums in which to relitigate state trials." Autry v. Estelle, 464 U.S. 1, 3 (1983). Mississippi has construed this aggravating circumstance "to refer to purposefully killing the victim of an underlying felony......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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