Burleson v. United States

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
Citation205 F. Supp. 331
Docket NumberNo. 13782.,13782.
PartiesLouis J. BURLESON, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES of America, Respondent.
Decision Date24 May 1962

Louis J. Burleson, petitioner, pro se.

Calvin K. Hamilton, Asst. U. S. Atty., for respondent.

JOHN W. OLIVER, District Judge.

This is a Section 2255, Title 28 U.S. C.A. proceeding.1 Leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted.

Petitioner's application for habeas corpus and his invocation of F.R. Crim.P., Rule 35, 18 U.S.C.A., must be laid to one side. The motion procedure provided in Section 2255 must be exhausted before an application for habeas corpus may be entertained. The last paragraph of that section expressly so provides. Nor may Rule 35 be invoked under the majority opinion in Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 430, 82 S.Ct. 468, 7 L.Ed.2d 417 (1962). See also concurring opinion in Heflin v. United States, 358 U.S. 415, at 422, 79 S.Ct. 451, 3 L.Ed.2d 407 (1959).

An examination of petitioner's allegations and the files and records of the Court conclusively show that the petitioner is not entitled to any relief at this time. Nor is petitioner now entitled to any hearing.

Petitioner's original motion, in both form and substance, looks as though it may have been copied from some appellate brief in some other case.2 At least a dozen Supreme Court cases and a like number of Courts of Appeals decisions are cited and discussed in petitioner's original motion.

Petitioner, under a "question presented" section of his original motion, alleged that "the judgment and sentence imposed (was) in violation of the statutory and constitutional laws of the United States" (page 1).

Under a section captioned "Argument", petitioner alleged in conclusory language that "the plea of guilty was not voluntarily given with (an) understanding of the nature of the charges" and that "petitioner's plea herein was other than voluntarily given, in fact, because not being properly advised and not knowing, petitioner had a valid defense to the charge laid in the information" (page 2). On page 3 it is alleged that "this Court must be mindful to the effect that the petitioner is illerate (sic), therefore he could not know the nature to what he is pleading to" and that "petitioner contends with vigor, that he cannot read or understand the charge laid before him, accordingly the judgment and sentence is void for want of jurisdiction." And finally, petitioner's original motion alleged that "even a cursory look at the entire transcript in this case will show clearly that this court's inquiry was purely prefunctory (sic) and wholly inadequate, because petitioner had an adequate defense and further his constitutional rights had already been violated".

Petitioner's amending motion is most similar to his original motion. The conclusions alleged in the original motion are repeated in substantially the same language. A few more conclusory allegations are added. On page 1 of the amending motion, for example, it is stated: "Whether this prisoner was induced, put under threats of duress or promised and whether the plea was involuntarily (sic), can only be fully determined by the required hearing under 2255 of Title 28, U.S.C.A." On page 2, petitioner seeks to raise the question of whether Rule 20 is constitutional.3 That question is not reached in this proceeding because jurisdiction of the case to which the motion is directed was not acquired under Rule 20.

Petitioner's amending motion also contains internal evidence that it may have been copied from a brief in another case. On page 3 it is stated that "the factual allegation contained in the Petitioner's Motion and Affidavit, and put in issue by the Affidavit filed with the Government's Response, related primarily to purported occurrences in the court-room and outside the court-room * * *" Of course, no pleadings of that description were ever filed in this case. It is, therefore, apparent that the allegations repeated in the amended motion to the effect that "even a cursory look at the transcript in this case will show that the Court's duty to inquire was purely prefunctory (sic)", and to the effect that "the record in the instant case is devoid of any facts showing any compliance with Rule 11, 18 U.S. C.A., and for these reasons the prisoner is entitled to have his sentence vacated" must be read realistically. Indeed the Supreme Court has but recently stated that "the language of the statute (Section 2255) does not strip the district courts of all discretion to exercise their common sense". Machibroda v. United States, 368 U.S. 487, 495, 82 S.Ct. 510, 7 L.Ed.2d 473 (1962).

The files and records of this case show that defendant was arraigned on July 28, 1961 before Judge Ridge. He was represented by his employed counsel, Kenneth K. Simon, Esq., of the Kansas City, Missouri, Bar.4

The transcript of the proceedings of this Court under the dates of July 18, 1961 and August 11, 1961 shows that defendant's waiver of indictment was in accordance with Rule 7(b) as construed by the decisions. The transcript of the proceedings under date of September 8, 1961, before the late Judge Smith, reflects the Court's acceptance of pleas of guilty in all eleven of the separate cases, and its imposition of sentence in each case. Those proceedings were in compliance with Rules 11 and 20 as construed by the decisions.5

Section 2255 was enacted for the purpose of correcting past abuses of then existing judicial procedure — not to create new ones. After a full review of its history, United States v. Hayman, 342 U.S. 205, 219, 72 S.Ct. 263, 96 L.Ed. 232 (1952), held that Section 2255 "was passed at the instance of the Judicial Conference to meet practical difficulties that had arisen in administering the habeas corpus jurisdiction of the federal courts". That case emphasized that "the existence of power to produce the prisoner does not, of course, mean that he should be automatically produced in every Section 2255 proceeding. This is in accord with procedure in habeas corpus action". Walker v. Johnston, 312 U.S. 275, 61 S.Ct. 574, 85 L.Ed. 830 (1941), illustrates the problem of practice concerning habeas corpus, including that which had "grown up" (l. c. 284, 61 S.Ct. loc. cit. 578) in regard to the issuance of a show cause order which entitled the respondent to answer. Walker demonstrated that the approved show cause practice permitted the exhibition of "the facts on which the opposing parties rely" and contemplated the possibility that "the court may find that no issue of fact is involved" (l. c. 284, 61 S.Ct. loc. cit. 578). The Supreme Court noted that "in this way useless grant of the writ with consequent production of the prisoner and of witnesses may be avoided where from undisputed facts or from incontrovertible facts, such as those recited in a court record, it appears, as a matter of law, no cause for granting the writ exists" (emphasis ours). The correlative, of course, was that if the pleadings presented an issue of fact, the court was required "to issue the writ, have the petitioner produced, and hold a hearing at which evidence is received" (l. c. 285, 61 S.Ct. loc. cit. 579). The fact that a petitioner's "allegations are improbable or unbelievable" could not serve to "deny him an opportunity to support them by evidence" (l. c. 287, 61 S.Ct. loc. cit. 579).6

Early this year, the Supreme Court reiterated that "it conclusively appears from the historic context in which § 2255 was enacted that the legislation was intended simply to provide in the sentencing court a remedy exactly commensurate with that which had previously been available by habeas corpus in the court of the district where the prisoner was confined". Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 427, 82 S.Ct. 468, 7 L.Ed.2d 417 (1962).

Section 2255 is the last section of Chapter 153 entitled Habeas Corpus of the United States Code. It is expressly provided in Rule 81(a) (2) that the Rules of Civil Procedure, with exceptions not here important, are not applicable to proceedings in habeas corpus. We think it clear from its history and its purpose that Section 2255 is a "proceeding in habeas corpus" within the meaning of Rule 81(a) (2), 28 U.S.C.A. Cf. Holiday v. Johnston, 313 U.S. 342, 353, 550, 61 S.Ct. 1015, 85 L.Ed. 1392 (1941), and see United States ex rel. Goldsby v. Harpole, 5 Cir., 249 F.2d 417, 420 (1957) (certiorari denied 361 U.S. 850, 80 S.Ct. 109, 4 L.Ed. 2d 89).

If notice pleading as permitted by Rule 8 of the Rules of Civil Procedure could be said to be applicable to a Section 2255 motion it would be difficult to comprehend a case in which the court could "entertain and determine such motion without requiring the production of the prisoner". Such a situation is clearly contemplated by the fourth paragraph of Section 2255 and underlines the reason why the Rules of Civil Procedure were not made generally applicable to proceedings under that section.

And it is certain that the cases applying Section 2255 have proceeded on the assumption that detailed and specific allegations must be made in a motion filed to invoke the power and jurisdiction of the district court. In Machibroda v. United States, 368 U.S. 487, 82 S.Ct. 510, 7 L.Ed.2d 473 (1962), for example, the majority opinion twice pointed out that "petitioner's motion and supporting affidavit set out detailed factual allegations" (l. c. 489, 82 S.Ct. loc. cit. 511) and that "the petitioner's motion and affidavit contain charges which are detailed and specific" (l. c. 495, 82 S.Ct. loc. cit. 514). Petitioner was entitled to a hearing in that case because it could not be said that "the specific and detailed factual assertions of the petitioner", while improbable, were in fact and in law "incredible". Under those sort of detailed and specific pleadings it is plain that "the function of 28 U.S.C., § 2255 can be served * * * only by affording the hearing which its provisions require" (l. c. 496, 82 S.Ct. loc....

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