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Eskridge v. Washington Prison Bd.

U.S.
Jun 16, 1958
357 U.S. 214 (1958)

Summary

holding in favor of indigent defendant and stating that the state failed to show availability of trial notes to substitute for a full transcript

Summary of this case from Kennedy v. Lockyer

Opinion

CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF WASHINGTON.

No. 96.

Argued May 19, 1958. Decided June 16, 1958.

The Constitution of the State of Washington gives the accused in a criminal prosecution a right to appeal in all cases, and a state law authorizes the furnishing of a stenographic transcript of trial proceedings to an indigent defendant at public expense, if, in the opinion of the trial judge, "justice will thereby be promoted." Alleging substantial errors in his trial for murder, petitioner moved in 1935 for a free transcript; but it was denied. The State Supreme Court denied petitioner a writ of mandate directing the trial judge to furnish the transcript and dismissed petitioner's appeal for failure to file a transcript. In 1956, petitioner applied to the State Supreme Court for habeas corpus, charging that failure to furnish the free transcript had violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment; but the writ was denied. Held: Petitioner was denied his constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment; the judgment is reversed; and the cause is remanded for further proceedings. Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12. Pp. 214-216.

Reversed and remanded.

Robert W. Graham, acting under appointment by the Court, 354 U.S. 936, argued the cause and filed a brief for petitioner.

John J. O'Connell, Attorney General of Washington, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief was Haydn H. Hilling, Assistant Attorney General.


The Constitution of the State of Washington provides: "In criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have . . . the right to appeal in all cases . . . ." Wash. Const., Amend. 10. In 1935, after petitioner was convicted of murder in a Washington state court and sentenced to life imprisonment, he gave timely notice of appeal to the Supreme Court of the State. Washington law authorizes a trial judge to have a stenographic transcript of trial proceedings furnished an indigent defendant at public expense "if in his opinion justice will thereby be promoted." Remington's Wash. Rev. Stat., 1932, § 42-5. Alleging substantial errors in his trial petitioner moved for a free transcript. The trial judge denied this motion, finding that "justice would not be promoted . . . in that defendant has been accorded a fair and impartial trial, and in the Court's opinion no grave or prejudicial errors occurred therein." Petitioner then moved in the State Supreme Court for writ of mandate ordering the trial judge to have a transcript furnished for the prosecution of his appeal. The Supreme Court denied this petition and simultaneously granted the State's motion to dismiss petitioner's appeal for failure to file a certified "statement of facts" and "transcript of record." In 1956 petitioner applied for habeas corpus in the Washington Supreme Court charging that failure to furnish a free transcript of the proceedings had violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. His petition was denied without opinion and we granted certiorari. 353 U.S. 922.

In this Court the State does not deny petitioner's allegations of poverty, the substantiality of the trial errors he alleges, or the necessity for him to have some record of the proceedings in order to prosecute his appeal properly. It does argue that petitioner might have utilized notes compiled by someone other than the official court reporter. Assuming that under some circumstances such notes could be an adequate substitute for a court reporter's transcript there is nothing in this record to show that any were available to petitioner, and the Washington courts appear to have proceeded on the assumption that he could not effectively prosecute his appeal unless the motion for a free transcript was granted. The State concedes that the reporter's transcript from the 1935 trial is still available. In Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, we held that a State denies a constitutional right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment if it allows all convicted defendants to have appellate review except those who cannot afford to pay for the records of their trials. We hold that Washington has denied this constitutional right here. The conclusion of the trial judge that there was no reversible error in the trial cannot be an adequate substitute for the right to full appellate review available to all defendants in Washington who can afford the expense of a transcript. We do not hold that a State must furnish a transcript in every case involving an indigent defendant. But here, as in the Griffin case, we do hold that, "[d]estitute defendants must be afforded as adequate appellate review as defendants who have money enough to buy transcripts." Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 19.

The judgment of the Washington Supreme Court is reversed and the cause is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

Reversed and remanded.

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN and MR. JUSTICE WHITTAKER, believing that on this record the Griffin case, decided in 1956, should not be applied to this conviction occurring in 1935, would affirm the judgment.

MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, not having heard the argument, took no part in the consideration or disposition of the case.


Summaries of

Eskridge v. Washington Prison Bd.

U.S.
Jun 16, 1958
357 U.S. 214 (1958)

holding in favor of indigent defendant and stating that the state failed to show availability of trial notes to substitute for a full transcript

Summary of this case from Kennedy v. Lockyer

holding that one level of review — by the trial judge only — "cannot be an adequate substitute for the right to full appellate review available to all defendants in Washington who can afford the expense of a transcript"

Summary of this case from Hughes v. Booker

holding that indigents have a right to a transcript on appeal as announced in Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 76 S.Ct. 585, 100 L.Ed. 891, to be retroactive

Summary of this case from Schlomann v. Moseley

holding as unconstitutional state law that allowed trial judge to determine whether there was reversible error before providing trial transcript to indigent defendant for direct appeal

Summary of this case from Todd v. Dolce

rejecting a state law provision giving a free transcript only when defendant could convince a trial judge that it would be in the interest of justice

Summary of this case from Miller v. Smith

invalidating state rule giving free transcripts only to defendants who could convince trial judge that "justice will thereby be promoted"

Summary of this case from Evitts v. Lucey

noting State's failure to show availability of trial notes

Summary of this case from Mayer v. City of Chicago

In Eskridge v. Washington PrisonBoard, 357 U.S. 214 (1958), we held that a State may not withhold a transcript and thereby deny an appeal to a poor man merely because a trial judge believed his own conduct had avoided the production of nonfrivolous questions for review.

Summary of this case from Cruz v. Hauck

In Eskridge the Court held constitutionally invalid a provision which permitted a trial judge to prevent an indigent from taking an effective appeal. The provision before us confers upon a state officer outside the judicial system power to take from an indigent all hope of any appeal at all.

Summary of this case from Lane v. Brown

In Eskridge the question was the validity of Washington's long-standing procedure whereby an indigent defendant would receive a stenographic transcript at public expense only if, in the opinion of the trial judge, "justice will thereby be promoted."

Summary of this case from Draper v. Washington

In Eskridge this Court held that "[t]he conclusion of the trial judge that there was no reversible error in the trial cannot be an adequate substitute for the right to full appellate review available to all defendants in Washington who can afford the expense of a transcript."

Summary of this case from Draper v. Washington

In Eskridge v. Washington Prison Board, 357 U.S. 214, the Court held invalid a provision of Washington's criminal appellate system which conferred upon the trial judge the power to withhold a trial transcript from an indigent upon the finding that "justice would not be promoted... in that defendant has been accorded a fair and impartial trial, and in the Court's opinion no grave or prejudicial errors occurred therein."

Summary of this case from Lane v. Brown

In Eskridge, in ruling invalid Washington's statute permitting a trial judge to deny a transcript to an indigent who appeals if he concludes that furnishing the transcript would not promote justice, the Court remarked, "[t]he conclusion of the trial judge that there was no reversible error in the trial cannot be an adequate substitute for the right to full appellate review * * *."

Summary of this case from Shiflett v. Commonwealth of Virginia

In Eskridge v. Prison Board, 357 U.S. 214, 78 S.Ct. 1061, 2 L.Ed.2d 1269 (1958) and Draper v. Washington, 372 U.S. 487, 83 S.Ct. 774 (1963), a denial of equal protection was found where the trial judge was given the power to withhold a trial transcript from an indigent upon the determination that an appeal would be without merit.

Summary of this case from United States ex Rel. O'Brien v. Maroney

applying Griffin v. People of State of Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 76 S.Ct. 585, 100 L.Ed. 891 to a 1935 conviction

Summary of this case from Smith v. Hampton Training School for Nurses

In Eskridge v. Washington State Board of Prison Terms, 357 U.S. 214, 78 S.Ct. 1061, 2 L.Ed.2d 1269, a holding that a transcript must be furnished to every indigent seeking review of his conviction was expressly disowned, while in Burns v. State of Ohio, 360 U.S. 252, 79 S.Ct. 1164, 3 L.Ed.2d 1209, there was an expression of approval of the Illinois response to the Griffin decision.

Summary of this case from United States v. Shoaf

In Eskridge v. Washington State Board of Prison Terms and Paroles, 357 U.S. 214, 78 S.Ct. 1061, 2 L.Ed.2d 1269 decided in 1958, the Supreme Court applied the rule announced in Griffin, supra, to a state conviction obtained in 1935.

Summary of this case from Hall v. Warden, Maryland Penitentiary

In Eskridge v. Washington State Bd. of Prison Terms and Paroles, 357 U.S. 214, 78 S.Ct. 1061, 2 L.Ed.2d 1269, the defendant was convicted of murder in a Washington State Court in 1935, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He gave timely notice of appeal to the Supreme Court of the State, but was unable to obtain a review because of the state's failure to furnish a free transcript.

Summary of this case from Patterson v. Medberry

stating that "a State denies a constitutional right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment if it allows all convicted defendants to have appellate review except those who cannot afford to pay for the records of their trials"

Summary of this case from Smith v. Palmer

In Eskridge v. Washington Prison Board, 357 U.S. 214, the Court held invalid a provision of Washington's criminal appellate system which conferred upon the trial judge the power to withhold a trial transcript from an indigent upon the finding that "justice would not be promoted * * * in that defendant has been accorded a fair and impartial trial, and in the Court's opinion no grave or prejudicial errors occurred therein."

Summary of this case from Smith v. Wilson

In Eskridge v. Washington State Board, etc., 357 U.S. 214, 78 S.Ct. 1061, 2 L.Ed.2d 1269 (1958), this rule, first enunciated in 1956, was held to be retroactive.

Summary of this case from Pisani v. Warden, Maryland Penitentiary

In Eskridge v. Washington etc., 357 U.S. 214, 78 S.Ct. 1061, 2 L.Ed.2d 1269 (1958), the trial judge was statutorily authorized to provide the indigent defendant with a transcript of the trial proceedings at public expense, "* * * if in his opinion justice will thereby be promoted."

Summary of this case from Cruz v. Patterson

In Eskridge v. Washington Prison Board, 357 U.S. 214, 78 S.Ct. 1061, 2 L.Ed.2d 1269, the Court held invalid a provision of Washington's criminal appellate system which conferred upon the trial judge the power to withhold a trial transcript from an indigent upon the finding that `justice would not be promoted * * * in that defendant has been accorded a fair and impartial trial, and in the Court's opinion no grave or prejudicial errors occurred therein.

Summary of this case from La Faver v. Turner

In Eskridge v. Washington State Board of Prison Terms and Paroles, 1958, 357 U.S. 214, 78 S.Ct. 1061, 1062, 2 L.Ed.2d 1269, the Constitution of the State of Washington (Amend. 10) gave the accused in a criminal prosecution a right to appeal in all cases and a State law (Rem.Rev.Stat. § 42-5) authorized the furnishing of a transcript to an indigent defendant at public expense, if, in the opinion of the trial judge, "justice will thereby be promoted."

Summary of this case from United States v. Lane, (N.D.Ind. 1961)

applying equal protection holding retroactively

Summary of this case from Chavez v. State
Case details for

Eskridge v. Washington Prison Bd.

Case Details

Full title:ESKRIDGE v . WASHINGTON STATE BOARD OF PRISON TERMS AND PAROLES

Court:U.S.

Date published: Jun 16, 1958

Citations

357 U.S. 214 (1958)
78 S. Ct. 1061

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