Lefkowitz v. Newsome 8212 1627

Decision Date19 February 1975
Docket NumberNo. 73,73
PartiesLouis J. LEFKOWITZ, Attorney General of New York, Petitioner, v. Leon NEWSOME. —1627
CourtU.S. Supreme Court
Syllabus

When state law permits a defendant to plead guilty without forfeiting his right to judicial review of specified constitutional issues, such as the lawfulness of a search or the voluntariness of a confession, the defendant is not foreclosed from pursuing those constitutional claims in a federal habeas corpus proceeding. Pp. 288-293.

(a) Thus, here where a New York statute permitted an appeal from an adverse decision on a motion to suppress evidence allegedly obtained as a result of unlawful search and seizure though the conviction was based on a guilty plea, respondent, who had been convicted in state court on a guilty plea to a drug charge and who had unsuccessfully presented to the state courts on direct appeal his federal constitutional claim that evidence seized incident to an unlawful arrest should have been suppressed, was not precluded from raising such claim in a federal habeas corpus proceeding. Pp. 288-292.

(b) To hold otherwise not only would deprive respondent of a federal forum despite his having satisfied all the requirements for invoking federal habeas corpus jurisdiction, but would also frustrate the State's policy in providing for post-guilty plea appellate review of pretrial motions to suppress. P. 292-293.

492 F.2d 1166, affirmed.

Robert S. Hammer, New York City, for petitioner.

Stanley Neustadter, New York City, for respondent.

Mr. Justice STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.

The respondent Leon Newsome was arrested pursuant to N.Y.Penal Law § 240.35(6), McKinney's Consol.Laws, c. 40, for loitering in the lobby of a New York City Housing Authority apartment building. A search of Newsome conducted at the time of his arrest produced a small quantity of heroin and related narcotics paraphernalia. Consequently, in addition to the offense of loitering, he was also charged with possession of a dangerous drug, fourth degree, N.Y.Penal Law § 220.05 (now codified, as modified, as N.Y.Penal Law § 220.03), and criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument. N.Y.Penal Law § 220.45.

The New York City Criminal Court conducted a nonjury trial on the loitering charge and a hearing on Newsome's motion to suppress the evidence seized at the time of his arrest. Newsome argued that the arresting officer did not have probable cause for the loitering arrest, that there was insufficient evidence to support a loitering conviction, and that the loitering statute was unconstitutional and therefore could not serve as the basis for either a loitering conviction or a lawful search incident to arrest. The court rejected these arguments, found Newsome guilty of loitering, and denied the motion to suppress.

One month later, on the date scheduled for trial on the drug charges, Newsome withdrew his prior pleas of not guilty and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of attempted possession of dangerous drugs. N.Y.Penal Law § 110. He was immediately sentenced to 90 days' imprisonment on the attempted-possession conviction and received an unconditional release on the loitering conviction.

At the sentencing proceeding Newsome indicated his intention to appeal both the loitering conviction and the denial of his motion to suppress the drugs and related paraphernalia seized at the time of his arrest. Appeal of the adverse decision on the motion to suppress was authorized by N.Y.Code Crim.Proc. § 813—c (now recodified as N.Y.Crim.Proc.Law §§ 710.20(1), 710.70(2)), McKinney's Consol.Laws, c. 11—A, which provided that an order denying a motion to suppress evidence alleged to have been obtained as a result of unlawful search and seizure 'may be reviewed on appeal from a judgment of conviction notwithstanding the fact that such judgment of conviction is predicated upon a plea of guilty.'1

On direct appeal to the Appellate Term of the New York Supreme Court, the loitering conviction was reversed for insufficient evidence and a defective information. Because the court held that there was probable cause to arrest Newsome for loitering, however, the search incident to that arrest was upheld and the drug conviction affirmed. Newsome sought further review of the drug conviction, but leave to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals was denied. This Court denied a petition for a writ of certiorari. Newsome v. New York, 405 U.S. 908, 92 S.Ct. 970, 30 L.Ed.2d 779.

Newsome then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The petition reiterated the claim that the loitering statute was unconstitutional, that Newsome's arrest was therefore invalid, and that as a result the evidence seized incident to that arrest should have been suppressed. Prior to the District Court's decision on the merits of Newsome's petition,2 the New York Court of Appeals declared New York's loitering statute unconstitutional. People v. Berck, 32 N.Y.2d 567, 300 N.E.2d 411. In light of the Berck decision, the District Court granted Newsome's application for a writ of habeas corpus.

The petitioner, the Attorney General of New York, who had been granted leave by the District Court to intervene as a respondent in the habeas corpus proceeding, appealed. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court, United States ex rel. Newsome v. Malcolm, 492 F.2d 1166, adhering to its earlier rulings that a New York defendant who has utilized state procedures to appeal the denial of a motion to suppress may pursue his constitutional claim on a federal habeas corpus petition although the conviction was based on a plea of guilty. Id., at 1169—1171. The court held that New York's loitering statute violated due process because it failed to specify adequately the conduct it proscribed and failed to provide sufficiently clear guidance for police, prosecutors, and the courts so that they could enforce the statute in a manner consistent with the constitutional requirement that arrests be based on probable cuase. Id., at 1171—1174. Accordingly, the court held that because Newsome was searched incident to an arrest for the violation of a statute found to be unconstitutional on the ground that it substituted mere suspicion for probable cause as the basis for arrest, the search of Newsome was also constitutionally invalid. The court concluded that the evidence seized should have been suppressed, and affirmed the District Court's judgment granting the writ of habeas corpus. Id., at 1174—1175.

The Attorney General of New York sought review here of both the Court of Appeals' decision that Newsome had not waived his right to file a federal habeas corpus petition by pleading guilty and its decision as to the constitutionality of New York's loitering statute. Because of a conflict between the judgment in the present case and a decision of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,3 we granted certiorari limited to the question of a defendant's right to file a federal habeas corpus petition challenging the lawfulness of a search or the voluntariness of a confession or presenting other constitutional claims when a State provides for appellate review of those issues after a guilty plea. 417 U.S. 967, 94 S.Ct. 3170, 41 L.Ed.2d 1138.4

I

In contending that Newsome is precluded from raising his constitutional claims in this federal habeas corpus proceeding, the petitioner relies primarily on this Court's decisions in the guiltyplea trilogy of Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742, 90 S.Ct. 1463, 25 L.Ed.2d 747; McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 90 S.Ct. 1441, 25 L.Ed.2d 763, and Parker v. North Carolina, 397 U.S. 790, 90 S.Ct. 1458, 25 L.Ed.2d 785, and on our decision in Tollett v. Henderson, 411 U.S. 258, 93 S.Ct. 1602, 36 L.Ed.2d 235. The Brady trilogy announced the general rule that a guilty plea, intelligently and voluntarily made, bars the later assertion of constitutional challenges to the pretrial proceedings. This principle was reaffirmed in Tollett v. Henderson, supra, at 267, 93 S.Ct., at 1608: 'When a criminal defendant has solemnly admitted in open court that he is in fact guilty of the offense with which he is charged, he may not thereafter raise independent claims relating to the deprivation of constitutional rights that occurred prior to the entry of the guilty plea.'

But the Court also suggested in the Brady trilogy that an exception to this general rule might be proper when a State decides to permit a defendant to appeal from an adverse ruling in a pretrial hearing despite the fact that his conviction is based on a guilty plea. See McMann v. Richardson, supra, 397 U.S., at 766, and n. 11, 770 n. 13, 90 S.Ct., at 1446, 1448.5 The justification for such an exception lies in the special nature of the guilty plea of a New York defendant like Newsome.

In most States a defendant must plead not guilty and go to trial to preserve the opportunity for state appellate review of his constitutional challenges to arrest, admissibility of various pieces of evidence, or the voluntariness of a confession. A defendant who chooses to plead guilty rather than go to trial in effect deliberately refuses to present his federal claims to the state court in the first instance. McMann v. Richardson, supra, at 768, 90 S.Ct., at 1447. Once the defendant chooses to bypass the orderly procedure for litigating his constitutional claims in order to take the benefits, if any, of a plea of guilty, the State acquires a legitimate expectation of finality in the conviction thereby obtained. Cf. Fay v. Noia, 372 U.S. 391, 438, 83 S.Ct. 822, 848, 9 L.Ed.2d 837. It is in this sense, therefore, that ordinarily 'a guilty plea represents a break in the chain of events which has preceded it in the criminal process.' Tollett v. Henderson, supra, 411 U.S., at 267, 93 S.Ct., at 1608.

New York, however, has chosen not to treat a...

To continue reading

Request your trial
335 cases
  • State v. Madera
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • December 17, 1985
    ...S.Ct. 665, 667, 66 L.Ed.2d 564, reh. denied, 450 U.S. 960, 101 S.Ct. 1420, 67 L.Ed.2d 385 (1981); cf. Lefkowitz v. Newsome, 420 U.S. 283, 292, 95 S.Ct. 886, 891, 43 L.Ed.2d 196 (1975); McMann v. Richardson, supra, 397 U.S. 770 n. 13, 90 S.Ct. 1448; it has not entirely stilled objections tha......
  • Forestier-Figueroa v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Puerto Rico
    • March 30, 2015
    ...claims relating to the deprivation of constitutional rights that occurred prior to the entry of the guilty plea." Lefkowitz v. Newsome, 420 U.S. 283, 288, 95 S. Ct. 886 (1975) (quoting Tollett v. Henderson, 411 U.S. 258, 267, 93 S. Ct. 1602 (1973)); see Perocier-Morales v. United States, 88......
  • Estelle v. Williams
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • May 3, 1976
    ...that the accused was precluded from raising the claim due to a procedural default. See, E. g., Lefkowitz v. Newsome, 420 U.S. 283, 292 n. 9, 95 S.Ct. 886, 890, 43 L.Ed.2d 196, 203 (1975). With this background in mind, two glaring inadequa- cies in the concurring opinion become manifest. Fir......
  • People v. Thomas
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • May 19, 1980
    ...based upon those issues once the guilty plea has been entered. Contrary to the practice in most states (see Lefkowitz v. Newsome, 420 U.S. 283, 289, 95 S.Ct. 886, 889, 43 L.Ed.2d 196, New York's Criminal Procedure Law authorizes post-plea review of specific constitutional issues which have ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 books & journal articles
  • Congress' Right to Remain Silent in Dickerson v. United States - or - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Miranda v. Arizona
    • United States
    • University of Nebraska - Lincoln Nebraska Law Review No. 34, 2022
    • Invalid date
    ...United States ex rel. Newsome v. Malcom, 492 F.2d 1166 (2d Cir.), cert. granted, Lefkowitz v. Newsome, 417 U.S. 967 (1974), and aff'd, 420 U.S. 283 (1975); Hall v. United States, 459 F.2d 831 (D.C. Cir. 1972)). 659. Id. at 98. 660. Id. 661. Id. 662. Id. (quoting, in part, Elkins v. United S......
  • Congress' Right to Remain Silent in Dickerson v. United States - or - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Miranda v. Arizona
    • United States
    • Creighton University Creighton Law Review No. 34, 2000
    • Invalid date
    ...United States ex rel. Newsome v. Malcom, 492 F.2d 1166 (2d Cir.), cert. granted, Lefkowitz v. Newsome, 417 U.S. 967 (1974), and aff'd, 420 U.S. 283 (1975); Hall v. United States, 459 F.2d 831 (D.C. Cir. 1972)). 659. Id. at 98. 660. Id. 661. Id. 662. Id. (quoting, in part, Elkins v. United S......
  • Appendix 2
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Attacking and Defending Drunk Driving Tests
    • May 5, 2021
    ...to a stay of his jail sentence, petitioner was “in custody” within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. §2254]; See also Leftkowitz v. Newsome (1975) 420 U.S. 283 [petitioner on bail pending appeal was “in custody” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. §2254]; McVeigh v. Smith (6th Cir. 1989) 872 F.2d 725 [petitio......
  • U.s. Supreme Court Decisions: 1974-1975
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association Colorado Lawyer No. 4-9, September 1975
    • Invalid date
    ...made by a district court of three judges. 5. Federal Habeas Corpus Appeal Following Guilty Plea in a State Court Lefkowitz v. Newsome, 420 U.S. 283, 95 S.Ct. 886, 43 L.Ed.2d 196 (1975): The sole issue before the Court was whether a defendant may file a federal habeas corpus petition on cons......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 provisions
  • 28 U.S.C. § 2254 State Custody; Remedies In Federal Courts
    • United States
    • US Code 2019 Edition Title 28. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure Part VI. Particular Proceedings Chapter 153. Habeas Corpus
    • January 1, 2019
    ...v. Municipal Court, 411 U.S. 345 (1973); or released on bail after conviction pending final disposition of his case, Lefkowitz v. Newsome, 95 S.Ct. 886 (1975). See also United States v. Re, 372 F.2d 641 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 388 U.S. 912 (1967) (on probation); Walker v. North Carolina, 2......

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