Cochran v. State of Kansas

Decision Date11 May 1942
Docket NumberNo. 510,510
Citation86 L.Ed. 1453,316 U.S. 255,62 S.Ct. 1068
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Mr. H. Thomas Austern, of Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Mr. Jay Kyle, of Topeka, Kan., for respondents.

Mr. Justice BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

In 1933, the petitioner Cochran was convicted by a jury in a Kansas state court upon a charge of passing a $12.60 check with knowledge that it was forged. His motion for a new trial was overruled. Upon a finding that Cochran had previously been convicted of two other felonies the court sentenced him to life imprisonment as an habitual criminal pursuant to a Kansas statute. Kan.Gen.Stat. (Corrick, 1935) 21-107a. Two days later he was sent to the state penitentiary where he has since been confined.

In January, 1941, Cochran acting in his own behalf filed an original application for habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Kansas. His application sets out the allegations, among others, that the trial judge had denied him the right to summon witnesses and to testify on his own behalf; and that officials of the state penitentiary enforcing prison rules there in effect had suppressed appeal documents he had prepared, thereby making it impossible for him to perfect an appeal during the two year period allowed by Kansas statute. The State filed a return containing a certified copy of the information on which Cochran was tried, journal entries of the trial, an order overruling Cochran's motion for a new trial, and the judgment and sentence.

The Kansas Supreme Court denied the writ, stating that 'the records of courts are not set aside upon the unsupported statements of a defeated litigant.' Cochran v. Amrine, 153 Kan. 777, 113 P.2d 1048, 1049. We accept the court's conclusion that the record, showing that Cochran was represented by counsel throughout, and revealing on its face no irregularities in the trial, is sufficient refutation of his unsupported charge that he was denied the right to summon witnesses and testify for himself.

But the allegations that prison officials frustrated Cochran's efforts to perfect an appeal are a different matter. Since these allegations relate to a period subsequent to Cochran's commitment, and since that is the latest event referred to in the record, the record itself affords no refutation. Nor are these allegations denied in any other part of the State's answer. Moreover, the opinion of the court itself recognizes that these allegations had 'some basis' pointing out that 'under rules * * * prevailing at the penitentiary' for some time following Cochran's commitment he was prevented from sending out a petition for habeas corpus, and that it was not until October, 1935, (after the time for appeal had expired) that such a petition was actually filed. On...

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131 cases
  • Screws v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • May 7, 1945
    ...337, 343, 59 S.Ct. 232, 233, 83 L.Ed. 208; Hague v. C.I.O., 307 U.S. 496, 512, 59 S.Ct. 954, 962, 83 L.Ed. 1423; Cochran v. Kansas, 316 U.S. 255, 62 S.Ct. 1068, 86 L.Ed. 1453; Pyle v. Kansas, 317 U.S. 213, 63 S.Ct. 177, 87 L.Ed. 214. 7 'The prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment are direc......
  • Griffin v. People of the State of Illinois
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • April 23, 1956
    ...517, 92 L.Ed. 644; Dowd v. United States ex rel. Cook, 340 U.S. 206, 208, 71 S.Ct. 262, 263, 95 L.Ed. 215; Cochran v. Kansas, 316 U.S. 255, 257, 62 S.Ct. 1068, 1069, 86 L.Ed. 1453; Frank v. Mangum, 237 U.S. 309, 327, 35 S.Ct. 582, 587, 59 L.Ed. All of the States now provide some method of a......
  • Jackson v. Godwin
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • July 23, 1968
    ...A prisoner is denied equal protection of the laws if officials prevent him from taking a timely appeal. Cochran v. State of Kansas, 316 U.S. 255, 62 S.Ct. 1068, 86 L.Ed. 1453; Dowd v. United States, ex rel. Cook, 340 U.S. 206. A state parole board regulation assessing an additional year of ......
  • United States v. Thomas
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • April 2, 1968
    ...585, 100 L.Ed. 891 (1956); Dowd v. United States ex rel. Cook, 340 U.S. 206, 208, 71 S.Ct. 262, 95 L.Ed. 215 (1951); Cochran v. Kansas, 316 U.S. 255, 257-58 (1942); cf. Cole v. State of Arkansas, 333 U.S. 196, 201-02, 68 S.Ct. 514, 92 L.Ed. 644 (1948); Frank v. Mangum, 237 U.S. 309, 327, 35......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Double helix, double bind: factual innocence and postconviction DNA testing.
    • United States
    • University of Pennsylvania Law Review Vol. 151 No. 2, December 2002
    • December 1, 2002
    ...right of access to claims for postconviction relief). (72) 312 U.S. 546, 548 (1941). (73) Id. (74) Id. at 549. (75) See Cochran v. Kansas, 316 U.S. 255, 257-58 (1942) (stating that a state prison's suppression of appeal documents would violate the Fourteenth Amendment); see also Gardner v. ......

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