From Casetext: Smarter Legal Research

Slayton v. Smith

U.S.
Nov 16, 1971
404 U.S. 53 (1971)

Summary

holding that if § 2254 petitioner has not presented his habeas claims to the appropriate state court, federal court should dismiss his petition without prejudice to allow state court exhaustion

Summary of this case from Mukuria v. Mullins

Opinion

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

No. 70-108.

Decided November 16, 1971

Court of Appeals, having determined that state remedies had not been exhausted by respondent, whose habeas corpus petition alleged that he had been tried and sentenced by a senile state judge, should not have made implications as it did as to merits of the delicate subject involved and, absent special circumstances, should not have ordered the District Court, which had dismissed the petition, to retain the case on its docket until respondent had sought state court relief.

Certiorari granted; 435 F.2d 453, vacated and remanded.


Respondent's petition for habeas corpus alleged, among other things, that he had been tried and sentenced in the state courts by a senile judge. On appeal from the District Court's dismissal of the petition without a hearing, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit noted that state remedies had not been exhausted, expressed its confidence that "if the contention is squarely raised, the state courts will be willing to afford the petitioner a reasonable opportunity to prove his case," and observed that a claim of judicial senility raised a most "sensitive issue of state administration of state criminal justice." 435 F.2d 453, 460 (1970). Despite these judicious observations underscoring the fact that this case was not ripe for federal cognizance, the Court of Appeals vacated the District Court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings with instructions to stay the case until respondent had sought relief in the Virginia state courts.

The Court of Appeals' form of "abstention" is perhaps technically consistent with the statutory prohibition against issuing the writ where state remedies have not been exhausted. 28 U.S.C. § 2254. But, having determined that state remedies had not been exhausted, the Court of Appeals would have better served the policy of the statute had it avoided any implication as to the merits of so delicate a subject. Further, absent special circumstances, cf. Nelson v. George, 399 U.S. 224 (1970), Wade v. Wilson, 396 U.S. 282 (1970), rather than ordering retention of the case on the District Court's docket, the Court of Appeals should simply have vacated the judgment of the lower court and directed dismissal of the petition for failure to exhaust state remedies.

The motion of respondent for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and the petition for writ of certiorari are granted, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is vacated, and the case is remanded to that court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

So ordered.

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, with whom MR. JUSTICE STEWART joins, believing that the Court of Appeals has observed all the proprieties as well as the requirements of the Act, would affirm its judgment.


Summaries of

Slayton v. Smith

U.S.
Nov 16, 1971
404 U.S. 53 (1971)

holding that if § 2254 petitioner has not presented his habeas claims to the appropriate state court, federal court should dismiss his petition without prejudice to allow state court exhaustion

Summary of this case from Mukuria v. Mullins

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Banks v. Rockbridge Cnty. Circuit Court

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Warren v. Va. Beach Circuit Court

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Hill v. Unknown

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented the claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Clark v. Virginia

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented the claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Kiser v. Harrison

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented the claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Powell v. Aylor

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Powell v. Aylor

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Sanchez v. Warden

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Wyatt v. Virginia

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Mayton v. Dillman

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Saunders v. Unknown

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Dodson v. United States Dist. Court

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Verdi v. Virginia

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Keen v. Unknown

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Saunders v. Unknown

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court

Summary of this case from Rigole v. VA DOC Sussex I State Prison

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Hudson v. Virginia

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Forgette v. Clarke

finding that § 2254 habeas petition must be dismissed without prejudice if petitioner has not presented his claims to the appropriate state court and could still do so

Summary of this case from Sensabaugh v. Shortt

chastising court of appeals for mentioning "so delicate a subject" as a judge's mental condition in a published opinion

Summary of this case from U.S. v. State of Washington

In Slayton, for example, the Supreme Court criticized us because we had expressed a view on the merits of a sensitive issue of state administration of the state courts following our finding that state remedies had not been exhausted.

Summary of this case from Meadows v. Holland

indicating that a federal habeas court should not retain the case on its docket pending exhaustion of state court remedies, but, absent special circumstances, should dismiss the petition

Summary of this case from Dewberry v. Wardenwilliams

requiring federal court to dismiss unexhausted § 2254 petition without prejudice

Summary of this case from Meredith v. Berry

requiring federal habeas court to dismiss § 2254 petition without prejudice if petitioner has not exhausted available state court remedies

Summary of this case from Hubbard v. Commonwealth
Case details for

Slayton v. Smith

Case Details

Full title:SLAYTON, PENITENTIARY SUPERINTENDENT v . SMITH

Court:U.S.

Date published: Nov 16, 1971

Citations

404 U.S. 53 (1971)
92 S. Ct. 174

Citing Cases

United States ex Rel. Johnson v. Cavell

28 U.S.C. § 2254(b); Commonwealth ex rel. Craig v. Maroney, 348 F.2d 22, 33 (3d Cir. 1965), cert. denied, 384…

Vay v. Pearson

Where, as here, a petitioner files in federal court while he still has available state court proceedings in…