Ex parte Massey

Decision Date28 May 1952
Docket NumberNo. 25862,25862
Citation249 S.W.2d 599,157 Tex.Crim. 491
PartiesEx parte MASSEY.
CourtTexas Court of Criminal Appeals

O'Neal Massey, pro per.

Price Daniel, Atty. Gen. of Texas, Edwin N. Bell and Willis E. Gresham, Asst. Atty. Gen., William T. Bennett, District Atty. 12th Judicial District, Huntsville, and George P. Blackburn, State's Atty., of Austin, for the State.

DAVIDSON, Commissioner.

On March 11, 1941, relator was convicted in the District Court of San Jacinto County under an indictment charging the primary offense of robbery by assault, a noncapital felony, and containing, in addition, allegations showing relator's two prior convictions for a like offense. The jury found relator guilty, as charged, and under the provisions of Art. 63, P.C., known as the habitual criminal statute, the court fixed the punishment at life imprisonment.

The judgment of conviction was in all things regular upon its face, and showed that it was rendered upon a plea of not guilty by relator in open court with 'counsel also being present.' No appeal was taken from that judgment, and it became final.

Since that time, relator, without avail, has, by various writs of habeas corpus, sought from the courts--both state and federal, and also the Supreme Court of the United States--relief from custody under the judgment. In most of these endeavors, relator alleged that he was not represented by counsel upon the trial of the case and also that he was insane at the time. He appears, however, not to have established such allegation by the facts.

In the instant proceeding, a writ of habeas corpus was granted by the judge of the District Court of Walker County, Texas, who, after developing the facts, certified the proceedings to this court for determination, under the provisions of Art. 119, C.C.P., as amended, Vernon's Ann.C.C.P. art. 119.

Among the facts so developed and certified are the affidavits of the judge presiding and the district attorney prosecuting at the trial, which are as follows:

'The State of Texas County of Montgomery

In the District Court, 9th Judicial District of Texas

'I, W. B. Browder, Judge of the Ninth Judicial District of Texas, do hereby certify the following facts:

'I am the duly qualified and acting Judge of the Ninth Judicial District of Texas, which District includes San Jacinto County, Texas. I was acting in such capacity on March 11, 1941, and presided at the trial of O'Neal Massey in the Cause No. 5070 in the District Court of San Jacinto County for the offense of robbery by assault.

'At the time Massey was arraigned in open court, the Honorable W. C McClain, then District Attorney of said District and County, announced that if the defendant desired to plead guilty to the charge against him, the said McClain would recommend that the Court fix the minimum punishment for said offense, to-wit, five years' confinement in the State Penitentiary. Defendant Massey refused to plead guilty and insisted on being tried by jury upon his plea of not guilty.

'At the time of such trial Massey was not indicted for a capital offense, was not eligible to make application for suspended sentence, and a jury was not waived. It was not made known to the Court that the defendant was claiming to be insane, and no plea of insanity was interposed. There were no unusual or special circumstances which appeared to require the appointment of counsel. Therefore no counsel was appointed and Massey proceeded to trial without counsel.

'(Signed) W. B. Browder

'Sworn to and subscribed before me this 1st day of April, 1952.

'(Signed) R. J. Gray

'Clerk of the District Court of Montgomery County, Texas

'By (signed) Billie Jean Simpson Deputy'

'(Seal)

'The State of Texas

County of Montgomery}

'Before me, the undersigned authority, a Notary Public in and for Montgomery County, Texas, on this day personally appeared W. C. McClain, known to me who, being by me first duly sworn, on oath did depose and say:

'In the month of March 1941 I was duly elected, qualified and acting District Attorney of the Ninth District of Texas, including San Jacinto County, and I was the prosecuting attorney who represented the State of Texas in the trial of Cause No. 5070 in the District Court of San Jacinto County, styled the State of Texas v. O'Neal Massey. In this cause Massey was indicted for the offense of robbery by assault, with averments as to two previous felony convictions.

'When Massey was arraigned, I stated to him in open court that if he desired to plead guilty to the indictment I would recommend to the court that Massey be given the minimum sentence of five years in the State Penitentiary. Massey refused to plead guilty, but insisted upon pleading not guilty and upon being tried by jury.

'No counsel was appointed by the Court to represent Massey, nor did Massey have counsel of his own choosing.

'It was not made known to me at the time of such trial that Massey was claiming to be insane and no plea of insanity was interposed.

'(Signed) W. C. McClain

'(Seal) Sworn to and subscribed to before me this 1st day of April, 1952.

'(Signed) Ruth Hazel Parsley

Notary Public in and for Montgomery County, Texas

(Printed) (Ruth Hazel Parsley)'

By these affidavits, relator has sustained his allegation that he was not represented by counsel upon the trial of his case. In addition to that fact, however, the affidavits specially negative the existence of facts which would require the appointment of counsel for an accused under the statute law of this state. We have no statute in this state requiring the appointment of counsel for an accused upon a plea of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
26 cases
  • Massey v. Moore
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • September 10, 1953
    ...he applied to the State Court, and this identical question was passed upon by the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas on May 28, 1952 (see 249 S.W.2d 599). I believe that court reached the right conclusion under the law with respect to petitioner\'s claim. Apparently no attempt has been made......
  • Huffman v. Alexander
    • United States
    • Oregon Supreme Court
    • February 11, 1953
    ...444, 125 P.2d 108; Ex parte Wilkerson, 72 Okl.Cr. 301, 115 P.2d 923; Ex parte Stinnett, 71 Okl.Cr. 184, 110 P.2d 310; Ex parte Massey, Tex.Cr.App., 249 S.W.2d 599. In our original opinion we intimated that one who had been convicted in violation of his constitutional rights would be entitle......
  • U.S. v. Canales
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • May 7, 1992
    ...to file a writ of coram nobis or seek other similar relief. See Ex Parte McCune, 246 S.W.2d 171 (Tex.Crim.App.1952); Ex Parte Massey, 249 S.W.2d 599, 601 (Tex.Crim.App.1952). As a general rule, a district court should ordinarily entertain a challenge to a prior conviction in a sentencing he......
  • Massey v. Moore
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • December 6, 1954
    ...law the question whether he was insane and thus unable to defend could be raised only on appeal, not collaterally. Ex parte Massey, 157 Tex.Cr.R. 491, 249 S.W.2d 599. Petitioner, having exhausted his state remedies, sought the present relief in the District Court, which ruled against him. T......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT