Waley v. Johnston

Citation86 L.Ed. 1302,316 U.S. 101,62 S.Ct. 964
Decision Date06 April 1942
Docket NumberNo. 1006,1006
PartiesWALEY v. JOHNSTON, Warden. Subnitted on Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Harmon M. Waley, pro se.


Petitioner filed his petition for habeas corpus in the district court, alleging upon oath that he had been cocerced, by intimidation and threats by an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to plead guilty to an indictment for kidnapping, and that he is held in custody by respondent under the consequent judgment of conviction and commitment.

The petition stated generally that threats of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to throw petitioner out of a window and 'beat me up' 'didn't bother me'. But it specifically alleged that petitioner's plea of guilty had been induced by the threats of a named Federal Bureau of Investigation agent to publish false statements and manufacture false evidence that the kidnapped person had been injured, and by such publications and false evidence to incite the public and to cause the State of Washington to hang the petitioner and the other defendants.

The district court ordered respondent to show cause why a writ should not issue and appointed counsel to represent petitioner. Respondent's return to the order included certified copies of the docket entries, indictment, transcript of proceedings on arraignment, entry of plea, judgment and sentence, and commitment papers. The transcript discloses that the trial court had explained to petitioner his right to be assisted by counsel and had appointed counsel who represented him at the trial. The return also included an affidavit of a special agent of the Bureau of Investigation, not the one mentioned in the petition, stating that petitioner, in affiant's presence, voluntarily signed two statements confessing his guilt, and that no threat or promise to petitioner of any kind was made in affiant's presence. The return made no denial of the allegations of coercion specifically set forth and relied on in the petition.

The district court denied the application for the writ without hearing evidence and without directing the production of the prisoner in court. It concluded that the allegations of coercion by threatening to publish false statements and manufacture false evidence were inconsistent with petitioner's statement that threats by Government agents to throw him out of the window and beat him up 'didn't bother' him; that the transcript filed with the return showed that petitioner was neither 'actuated nor induced by fear'; and that an earlier decision of the sentencing judge denying petitioner's application for a writ of coram nobis was res judicata.

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the order of the district court, 124 F.2d 587, 588. In view of the fact that petitioner when he pleaded guilty had been represented by counsel, a majority of the court thought he could not by habeas corpus attack his sentence on the ground that his plea was coerced. The opinion states that petitioner 'waived the defense and the constitutional right if any he had, and cannot assert it now on habeas corpus proceedings'. The case is before us on a motion of petitioner to proceed in forma pauperis on his petition for certiorari and the Government's confession of error. We grant the motion and the petition for certiorari.

The Government confesses error for the reason that the habeas corpus petition raises the material issue whether the plea was in fact coerced by the...

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377 cases
  • Fireman v. U.S.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Massachusetts
    • September 15, 1998
    ...that "the judgment of conviction is void for want of jurisdiction of the trial court to render it." Waley v. Johnston, 316 U.S. 101, 104-05, 62 S.Ct. 964, 86 L.Ed. 1302 (1942). "[The legislative] history makes clear that § 2255 was intended to afford federal prisoners a remedy identical in ......
  • State v. Keys
    • United States
    • Oregon Supreme Court
    • June 10, 2021
    ...identical issue was a jurisdictional defect in order for it to be cognizable on habeas. See Waley v. Johnston , 316 U.S. 101, 104-05, 62 S. Ct. 964, 86 L. Ed. 1302 (1942) (per curiam) (coerced guilty plea). The Court reasoned that, when the facts relied on to establish a federal constitutio......
  • Carmen, Application of
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • August 2, 1957
    ...S.Ct. 582, 59 L.Ed. 969; see, also, United States ex rel. McCann v. Adams, 320 U.S. 220, 64 S.Ct. 14, 88 L.Ed. 4; Waley v. Johnston, 316 U.S. 101, 62 S.Ct. 964, 86 L.Ed. 1302. It therefore appears that both reason and authority support the view that no exceptional circumstances are presente......
  • Woodard v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • February 2, 1965
    ...upon such a plea is open to collateral attack. See Walker v. Johnston, 312 U.S. 275, 61 S.Ct. 574, 85 L.Ed. 830; Waley v. Johnston, 316 U.S. 101, 62 S.Ct. 964, 86 L.Ed. 1302; Shelton v. United States, 356 U.S. 26, 78 S.Ct. 563, 2 L.Ed.2d 579. * * Machibroda, however, was a motion to vacate ......
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9 books & journal articles
  • The right to counsel and collateral sentence enhancement: in search of a rationale.
    • United States
    • University of Pennsylvania Law Review Vol. 144 No. 3, January 1996
    • January 1, 1996
    ...The Court later abandoned this jurisdictional construct as the basis for granting the federal writ of habeas corpus in Waley v. Johnston, 316 U.S. 101, 104-05 (1942) ("[T]he use of the writ in the federal courts to test the constitutional validity of a conviction for crime is not restricted......
  • The future of Teague retroactivity, or "redressability," after Danforth v. Minnesota: why lower courts should give retroactive effect to new constitutional rules of criminal procedure in postconviction proceedings.
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review Vol. 46 No. 1, January 2009
    • January 1, 2009
    ...v. Maxwell, 384 US. 333 (1966)). (153.) Id. (citing Parker v. Gladden, 385 U.S. 363 (1966)). (154.) Id. at 152 (citing Waley v. Johnston, 316 U.S. 101, 104-05 (155.) Id.; see also id. at 168 (suggesting that failure to permit postconviction review of such claims might amount to a due proces......
    • United States
    • Carolina Academic Press Federal Habeas Corpus: Cases and Materials (CAP)
    • Invalid date
    ...a contention going to the "power and authority" of the trial court, which might be reviewed on habeas. Finally, in Waley v. Johnston, 316 U.S. 101 (1942), the Court openly discarded the concept of jurisdiction—by then more a fiction than anything else — as a touchstone of the availability o......
  • A Change of Direction: Habeas Corpus from Warren to Burger
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly No. 32-2, June 1979
    • June 1, 1979
    ...of state decisionPo a Wallacc hiendelson, “The Habeas Corpus Problem,’’ unpublished Paper, University of Texas ‘’ lValey v. Johnston, 316 U.S. 101, 104 (1942). “’Sunalv. Large, 332 U.S. 174, 177 (1947). at Austin, 1975. Brown v. Allen, 344 US. 433 (1933). - 192 F 2d. 477, 4th Circ. “Paul Ba......
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