Pyle v. State of Kansas

Decision Date07 December 1942
Docket NumberNo. 50,50
PartiesPYLE v. STATE OF KANSAS et al
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Mr. Joseph P. Tumulty, Jr., of Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

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

Mr. Justice MURPHY delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner seeks to review an order of the Supreme Court of Kansas denying his application for writ of habeas corpus. In 1953 petitioner was convicted by a jury in a Kansas state court upon an information charging him with the crimes of murder and robbery. A motion for a new trial was overruled, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment under his conviction for murder, and to a term of from 10 to 21 years for robbery. On appeal the judgment was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Kansas. State v. Pyle, 143 Kan. 772, 57 P.2d 93.

On November 20, 1941, petitioner, a layman acting in his own behalf, filed an original application for writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Kansas. The crude allegations of this application charge that his imprisonment was the result of a deprivation of rights guaranteed him by the Constitution of the United States, in that the Kansas prosecuting authorities obtained his conviction by the presentation of testimony known to be perjured, and by the suppression of testimony favorable to him. Filed with this application were a brief and an abstract, also apparently prepared by petitioner himself, which are part of the record before us. These documents elaborate the general charges of the application, and specifically allege that 'one Truman Reynolds and coerced and threatened by the State to testify falsely against the petitioner and that said testimony did harm to the petitioner's defense'; that 'one Lacy Cunningham who had been previously committed to a mental institution was threatened with prosecution if he did not testify for the State'; that the testimony of one Roy Riley, material to petitioner's defense, 'was repressed under threat and coercion by the State'; that Mrs. Roy Riley and Mrs. Thelma Richardson were intimidated and their testimony suppressed; and, that the record in the trial of one Merl Hudson for complicity in the same murder and robbery for which petitioner was convicted, held about six months after petitioner's direct appeal from his conviction, reveals that the evidence there presented is inconsistent with the evidence presented at petitioner's trial, and clearly exonerates petitioner.

Certain exhibits accompanied the application; among these were copies, sworn by petitioner to be true and correct copies of the originals, of an affidavit executed by Truman Reynolds in 1940, and a letter dated February 28, 1941, from the former prosecuting attorney who represented the State at petitioner's trial. The affidavit contained a statement that affiant 'was forced to give perjured testimony against Harry Pyle under threat by local authorities at St. John, Kansas and the Kansas State Police, of a penitentiary sentence for burglary if I did not testify against Mr. Pyle'. The letter stated, 'Your conviction was a grave mistake', and further that, 'The evidence at the trial of Murl Hudson certainly shattered the conclusions drawn from the evidence produced at your trial.'

In connection with his application petitioner moved for the appointment of counsel to represent him, for subpoenas duces tecum to bring up the records in the trials of Merl...

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481 cases
  • Imbler v. Craven
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Central District of California
    • April 23, 1969
    ...U.S. 28, 78 S.Ct. 103, 2 L.Ed.2d 9 (1957); Hysler v. Florida, 315 U.S. 411, 62 S.Ct. 688, 86 L.Ed. 932 (1942); Pyle v. Kansas, 317 U.S. 213, 63 S.Ct. 177, 87 L.Ed. 214 (1942); Evans v. Eyman, 363 F.2d 540, 542 (9th Cir. There is no doubt that false testimony was given at petitioner's trial ......
  • Ass'n for L.A. Deputy Sheriffs v. Superior Court of L.A. Cnty.
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • August 26, 2019
    ...using evidence that the prosecutor knows to be false. ( Mooney , at pp. 112-113, 55 S.Ct. 340 ; see also Pyle v. State of Kansas (1942) 317 U.S. 213, 216, 63 S.Ct. 177, 87 L.Ed. 214.) A prosecutor must correct false evidence "when it appears." ( Napue v. Illinois (1959) 360 U.S. 264, 269, 7......
  • Theodor v. Superior Court, Orange County
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • November 23, 1971
    ...perjury in the affidavits on which a search warrant was issued is a question on which we express no opinion. (Cf. Pyle v. Kansas, 317 U.S. 213, 216, 63 S.Ct. 177, 87 L.Ed. 214; Mooney v. Holohan, 294 U.S. 103, 112-113, 55 S.Ct. 340, 79 L.Ed. 791; In re Imbler, supra, 60 Cal.2d 554, 560, 35 ......
  • State v. Martin
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • December 15, 2017
    ...with the rudimentary demands of justice as is the obtaining of a like result by intimidation.’"In Pyle v. Kansas, 317 U.S. 213, 215–216[, 63 S.Ct. 177, 87 L.Ed. 214 (1942) ], we phrased the rule in broader terms:" ‘Petitioner's papers ... set forth allegations that his imprisonment resulted......
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7 books & journal articles
  • Chapter 5 Prosecutors, Police, and Preservation of Evidence
    • United States
    • Carolina Academic Press Wrongful Conviction: Law, Science, and Policy (CAP) 2019
    • Invalid date
    ...U.S. 103 [(1935)]. There has been no deviation from that established principle. Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264 [(1959)]; Pyle v. Kansas, 317 U.S. 213 [(1942)]. There can be no retreat from that principle here. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the case is remanded for fu......
    • United States
    • Case Western Reserve Law Review Vol. 72 No. 3, March 2022
    • March 22, 2022
    ...(ruling that due process forbids a prosecutor from knowingly allowing a witness's perjury to go uncorrected at trial); Pyle v. Kansas, 317 U.S. 213, 215-16 (1942) (ruling that due process forbids a prosecutor from intentionally using perjured testimony to convict a defendant); cf. Brady v. ......
  • Getting out of this mess: steps toward addressing and avoiding inordinate delay in capital cases.
    • United States
    • Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Vol. 89 No. 1, September 1998
    • September 22, 1998 Durley v. Mayo, 351 U.S. 277, 290-91 (1956) (Douglas, J., dissenting) (citing Mooney v. Holohan, 294 U.S. 103 (1935); Pyle v. Kansas, 317 U.S. 213 (1942)); see also Sanders v. Sullivan, 863 F.2d 218 (2d Cir. (149) See Johnson v. Mississippi, 486 U.S. 578 (1988) (death sentence vacated ......
  • Foul Blows: Using the Ethical Standard to Prevent Low-Level Brady Violations from Slipping Through the Cracks
    • United States
    • Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics No. 34-4, October 2021
    • October 1, 2021
    ...but avoidance of an unfair trial to the accused”). 23. Id . 24. Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 84 (1963). 25. Id . 26. Pyle v. Kansas, 317 U.S. 213, 216 (1942). 27. Brady , 373 U.S. at 86-87. 28. Id . 29. Id. at 87. See also United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97, 104 (1976) (“A fair analysis......
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