In re Parker, No. 19784.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtMATTHES, GIBSON and LAY, Circuit
Citation423 F.2d 1021
PartiesIn the Matter of John PARKER, on Habeas Corpus. State of South Dakota and Don R. Erickson, Warden, Appellants.
Docket NumberNo. 19784.
Decision Date23 March 1970

423 F.2d 1021 (1970)

In the Matter of John PARKER, on Habeas Corpus.
State of South Dakota and Don R. Erickson, Warden, Appellants.

No. 19784.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

March 23, 1970.


423 F.2d 1022

R. James Zieser, Asst. Atty. Gen., Pierre, S. D., for appellants; Gordon Mydland, Atty. Gen., on the brief.

Gary J. Pashby, Sioux Falls, S. D., for appellee.

Before MATTHES, GIBSON and LAY, Circuit Judges.

LAY, Circuit Judge.

The State of South Dakota appeals from an order of the federal district court granting a conditional writ of habeas corpus1 to the petitioner John Parker. On November 6, 1950 Parker pleaded guilty in the state court in Brookings County, South Dakota, to a charge of murdering his wife. The crime took place on October 25, 1950. Parker was represented at the time of his guilty plea by Mr. Walter Aaberg, Brookings attorney. On August 4, 1952, Parker was granted an evidentiary hearing in the state court on his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. This writ was denied by the Circuit Court of Minnehaha County, South Dakota. Thereafter, Parker appealed to the Supreme Court of South

423 F.2d 1023
Dakota. On appeal the judgment of the Circuit Court of Minnehaha was affirmed. State ex rel. Parker v. Jameson, 75 S.D. 196, 61 N.W.2d 832 (1953). Fifteen years later the petitioner sought relief in the federal district court. On December 18, 1968, a hearing was held wherein the original state transcripts of the guilty plea of November 6, 1950, and the August 4, 1952, state habeas corpus transcript were offered in evidence. The only additional oral testimony presented before the federal court was that of the Clerk of Courts of Brookings County, South Dakota, which verified that Parker's attorney, Mr. Aaberg, from 1931 until November 1950 had been the attorney of record in five other criminal cases before his representation of Parker. The federal district court reviewed only the state court record and on March 25, 1969, granted petitioner a writ of habeas corputs. In re Parker, 297 F.Supp. 367 (D. S.D.1969). This appeal followed. We reverse with directions to dismiss the petition

The federal district court in granting the writ of habeas corpus reviewed Parker's testimony given in the 1952 state post-conviction hearing. The district court found: (1) that Parker had asked the sheriff to call certain designated lawyers to represent him and that the sheriff had lied to him by telling him that he had called the lawyers requested but that none of them would take his case; (2) that at the time of the guilty plea petitioner was represented by Walter Aaberg,2 a Brookings attorney who had previously represented petitioner on civil matters; (3) that the sheriff likewise lied in stating to petitioner that (a) his family had left him and would not be around should he stand trial and (b) that a mob had formed and the sheriff was not sure whether he could control one if it formed again; (4) that Aaberg (a) did not ask petitioner any of the details of the crime that he was charged with, (b) did not ask how his wife's death occurred, (c) failed to make an investigation of the crime and (d) did not advise him of his rights prior to his plea of guilty on November 6, 1950; and (5) that the sheriff and Mr. Aaberg were both deceased at the time of the federal habeas corpus proceeding, but were available in 1952 to refute Parker's testimony although not called upon by the state to do so.

The federal district court found that petitioner's guilty plea resulted from the psychological coercion by the sheriff and from the denial of the effective assistance of counsel. The defendant was 50 years old at the time of the crime and had had a limited education (fifth grade). The district court, relying upon Crooker v. California, 357 U.S. 433, 78 S.Ct. 1287, 2 L.Ed.2d 1448 (1958),3 held

423 F.2d 1024
that Parker was denied counsel of his own choosing and that he had likewise been denied effective assistance of counsel in that his retained attorney, W. M. Aaberg, (1) failed to provide minimal standards of assistance and (2) did not have adequate qualifications to provide a criminal defense in a capital case

The 1952 transcript of the state habeas corpus hearing was the sole basis upon which the federal district court based its finding. In a federal habeas corpus proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended, (Supp. 1959-1967) it is provided that the state court determination of a factual issue "shall be presumed to be correct" unless the applicant establishes a circumstance, therein enumerated, which proves the unreliability of the state proceeding. See United States ex rel. Thomas v. Maroney, 406 F.2d 992 (3 Cir. 1969); Maxwell v. Turner, 411 F.2d 805 (10 Cir. 1969); Heyd v. Brown, 406 F.2d 346 (5 Cir. 1969); Maes v. Patterson, 401 F.2d 200 (10 Cir. 1968); Woodington v. Mathews, 401 F.2d 125 (7 Cir. 1968); Justus v. New Mexico, 378 F.2d 344 (10 Cir. 1967); Midgett v. Warden, 329 F.2d 185 (4 Cir. 1964). There exists here no contention that the 1952 state proceeding was not a full, fair and adequate hearing or that it in any way failed to meet the standards set forth in § 2254(d) (1-8). Cf. Hawkins v. Bennett, 423 F.2d 948 (8 Cir. 1970); Roach v. Bennett, 392 F.2d 743 (8 Cir. 1968). The federal district court in fact relied upon the exact testimony taken in the state proceeding. The federal district judge made no finding that the 1952 state court factual determination was not supported by the record. Under these circumstances, "the burden shall rest upon the applicant to establish by convincing evidence that the factual determination by the state court was erroneous." See § 2254(d). This burden was not satisfied.

To avoid misunderstanding, the statute does not replace the federal court's constitutional obligation to make its own independent determination on federal questions. The Supreme Court has made clear that a federal court's consideration of the constitutional question shall be plenary. Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293, 312, 83 S.Ct. 745, 9 L.Ed.2d 770 (1963). As Mr. Justice Frankfurter said in Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443, 506, 508, 73 S.Ct. 397, 446, 97 L.Ed. 469 (1952):

"On the other hand, State adjudication of questions of law cannot, under the habeas corpus statute, be accepted as binding. It is precisely these questions that the federal judge is commanded to decide."
* * * * * *
"Although there is no need for the federal judge, if he could, to shut his eyes to the State consideration of such issues, no binding weight is to be attached to the State determination. The congressional requirement is greater. The State court cannot have the last say when it, though on fair consideration and what procedurally may be deemed fairness, may have misconceived a federal constitutional right."

See also Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. at 318, 83 S.Ct. 745; Doerflein v. Bennett, 405 F.2d 171 (8 Cir. 1969). However, where the state record demonstrates procedural fairness and sufficient evidence exists to support the state court's factual findings, the statute as well as the legislative purpose of § 2254 (d) makes clear that these findings are to be presumptively correct absent a showing of constitutional deficiency in the state proceeding. S.Rep. No. 1797, U.S.Code Cong. & Adm.News, p. 3663 (89 Cong. 2d Sess. 1966). Under these circumstances,

423 F.2d 1025
and in view of the fact that there is no claim that the state court has misconceived any federal constitutional right, we feel the federal district court was in error in totally disregarding the state's findings

In the instant case the federal district court's conclusion that petitioner's retained counsel failed to provide effective assistance cannot be weighed in isolation. This claim, to be relevant, must in some...

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48 practice notes
  • Zemina v. Solem, Civ. No. 76-4090.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • September 22, 1977
    ...court are presumptively valid in federal habeas corpus proceedings. 28 U.S.C.A. section 2254(d) (1971). See discussion in In re Parker, 423 F.2d 1021 (8th Cir. 1970), cert. den. 398 U.S. 966, 90 S.Ct. 2182, 26 L.Ed.2d 551 (1970). "On the other hand, State adjudications of questions of law c......
  • Johnson v. Wyrick, Civ. A. No. 73CV252-W-3.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • August 12, 1974
    ...without holding an evidentiary hearing.9 Townsend v. Sain, supra; Brown v. Swenson, 487 F.2d 1236, 1240 (8th Cir. 1973); In re Parker, 423 F.2d 1021 (8th Cir. 1970); Meller v. Swenson, 309 F.Supp. 519 (W.D.Mo.1969), affirmed, 431 F.2d 120 (8th Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 400 U. S. 996, 91 S.C......
  • Thundershield v. Solem, No. CIV76-4060.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • April 11, 1977
    ...issues are presumptively correct. 28 U.S.C. section 2254(d). See also Jones v. Wainwright, 494 F.2d 1184 (5th Cir. 1974); In re Parker, 423 F.2d 1021 (8th Cir. 1970); cf. McQueen v. Swenson, 498 F.2d 207 (8th Cir. 1974). As a result, Petitioner is faced with differing standards of proof for......
  • Davis v. Lehane, No. Civ.A. 83-03676-WGY.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • March 29, 2000
    ...post-conviction cases involving state prisoners. See S.Rep. No. 1797 (1966), reprinted in 1966 U.S.C.C.A.N. 3663 (cited in In re Parker, 423 F.2d 1021, 1024 [8th 12. In "the interests of judicial economy," this Court accepted evidence relating to Davis' Brady claims at such hearing as well.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
48 cases
  • Zemina v. Solem, Civ. No. 76-4090.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • September 22, 1977
    ...court are presumptively valid in federal habeas corpus proceedings. 28 U.S.C.A. section 2254(d) (1971). See discussion in In re Parker, 423 F.2d 1021 (8th Cir. 1970), cert. den. 398 U.S. 966, 90 S.Ct. 2182, 26 L.Ed.2d 551 (1970). "On the other hand, State adjudications of questions of law c......
  • Johnson v. Wyrick, Civ. A. No. 73CV252-W-3.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • August 12, 1974
    ...without holding an evidentiary hearing.9 Townsend v. Sain, supra; Brown v. Swenson, 487 F.2d 1236, 1240 (8th Cir. 1973); In re Parker, 423 F.2d 1021 (8th Cir. 1970); Meller v. Swenson, 309 F.Supp. 519 (W.D.Mo.1969), affirmed, 431 F.2d 120 (8th Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 400 U. S. 996, 91 S.C......
  • Thundershield v. Solem, No. CIV76-4060.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • April 11, 1977
    ...issues are presumptively correct. 28 U.S.C. section 2254(d). See also Jones v. Wainwright, 494 F.2d 1184 (5th Cir. 1974); In re Parker, 423 F.2d 1021 (8th Cir. 1970); cf. McQueen v. Swenson, 498 F.2d 207 (8th Cir. 1974). As a result, Petitioner is faced with differing standards of proof for......
  • Davis v. Lehane, No. Civ.A. 83-03676-WGY.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • March 29, 2000
    ...post-conviction cases involving state prisoners. See S.Rep. No. 1797 (1966), reprinted in 1966 U.S.C.C.A.N. 3663 (cited in In re Parker, 423 F.2d 1021, 1024 [8th 12. In "the interests of judicial economy," this Court accepted evidence relating to Davis' Brady claims at such hearing as well.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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