Smith v. State of Maryland

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
Citation362 F.2d 763
Docket NumberNo. 10507.,10507.
PartiesJames Francis SMITH, Appellant, v. STATE OF MARYLAND, Appellee.
Decision Date17 June 1966

Morris Lee Kaplan, Baltimore, Md. (Court-assigned counsel), (Michael Lee Kaplan, Baltimore, Md., on brief), for appellant.

Morton A. Sacks, Asst. Atty. Gen. of Maryland (Thomas B. Finan, Atty. Gen. of Maryland, and Robert F. Sweeney, Asst. Atty. Gen. of Maryland, on brief), for appellee.

Thomas S. Currier, Charlottesville, Va., amicus curiae.

Before HAYNSWORTH, Chief Judge, BRYAN, Circuit Judge, and HEMPHILL, District Judge.

HAYNSWORTH, Chief Judge.

In this federal habeas corpus proceeding, Smith attacks his Maryland conviction of obtaining money under false pretenses on the ground of exclusion of nonbelievers in God from the Grand Jury which returned the indictment. He, himself, staunchly professes belief in God, and his conviction was final before the Maryland Court of Appeals declared Article 36 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights invalid. Under those circumstances, we think the petition was properly denied.

In Schowgurow v. State, 240 Md. 121, 213 A.2d 475, the Court of Appeals of Maryland declared the invalidity of Article 36 of Maryland's Declaration of Rights, which, after declaring that no person should be deemed incompetent for jury service by reason of religious belief, restricts the provision to those who believe in God and who believe that they will be Divinely held to a moral accountability for their acts and be rewarded or punished therefor in this world or in a life hereafter. The effect of the provision, as interpreted, was to make nonbelief in any Supreme Being a disqualification for service as a juror. To the extent that Article 36 required such disqualification, the Maryland Court of Appeals found it constitutionally invalid when the indicted defendant was a nonbeliever. In State v. Madison, 240 Md. 265, 213 A.2d 880, the same provision was held to deny due process to a believer.

The Court of Appeals of Maryland in Schowgurow and Madison, however, undertook to limit the retroactive application of its holdings to those cases in which the judgment of conviction had not become final on the date its decision in Schowgurow was announced. It adopted the formulation of Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 85 S.Ct. 1731, 14 L.Ed. 2d 601, limiting the retroactive application of Mapp v. State of Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081.

The petitioner here asserts a federal constitutional right to the benefits of the decision of the Maryland Court of Appeals in Madison notwithstanding the fact that the judgment of conviction he attacks had become final prior to the decision in Schowgurow.

In denying the petition, the District Court wrote a thorough and exhaustive opinion,1 upon the basis of which as applied to this case only, we affirm. Since a number of related cases which will shortly be scheduled for hearing in this court present more difficult problems in this area we think it appropriate to indicate sketchily the basis of our decision of the restricted problem now presented.

Whether Smith's indictment was void in light of Madison, as Smith earnestly contends, or only voidable under state law, is...

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11 cases
  • United States v. Butera
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • 21 January 1970
    ...Woodruff v. Breazeale, 401 F.2d 997 (5th Cir. 1968); Salisbury v. Grimes, 406 F.2d 50, 51 (5th Cir. 1969); see also Smith v. Maryland, 362 F.2d 763, 764 (4th Cir. 1966). However, as the decision affirmed in Woodruff and relied on in Salisbury — Woodruff v. Breazeale, 291 F.Supp. 130 (N.D.Mi......
  • United States v. Tillman
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Georgia
    • 4 August 1967
    ...that is represented to absence of an unrepresented group is not definitely settled. See for example in this regard Smith v. State of Maryland, 362 F.2d 763 (4th Cir. 1966). 4 The details of the plan and procedure may be determined from examination of the Exhibits as The court's order, as am......
  • DeToro v. Warden, Maryland Penitentiary
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Maryland
    • 20 February 1967
    ...of the laws or any other right under the United States Constitution. That decision was affirmed on appeal, Smith v. State of Maryland, 4 Cir., 362 F.2d 763 (1966). Nevertheless, in the case of one of the petitioners herein, Brown v. Brough, Warden, D.Md., 248 F.Supp. 342 (1965), this Court ......
  • King v. Mintzes
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Michigan
    • 14 March 1983
    ...See, e.g., Burkheart v. Eyman, 462 F.2d 1335 (9th Cir.1972); Benson v. Carter, 396 F.2d 319, 323 (9th Cir.1968); Smith v. State of Maryland, 362 F.2d 763 (4th Cir.1966); Whalen v. Johnson, 438 F.Supp. 1198, 1204 (E.D.Mich.1977). This general rule and a limited exception were described in Lo......
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