Allen v. McCurry

LOCATION: Dames & Moore

DOCKET NO.: 79-935
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 449 US 90 (1980)
ARGUED: Oct 08, 1980
DECIDED: Dec 09, 1980

John J. Fitzgibbon - on behalf of the Petitioners
Jeffrey J. Shank - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Allen v. McCurry

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 08, 1980 in Allen v. McCurry

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - December 09, 1980 in Allen v. McCurry

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in Allen against McCurry will be announced by Mr. Justice Stewart.

Potter Stewart:

This case Number 79-935 is hereby way of the grant of a writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

At a hearing before his criminal trial in a Missouri Court, the respondent, Willie McCurry invoked the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to suppress evidence that had been seized by the police.

The trial court denied the suppression motion in part, and McCurry was subsequently convicted after a jury trial.

And that conviction was later affirmed on appeal because he did not assert that the state courts had denied him a full and fair opportunity to litigate his search and seizure claim.

McCurry was barred by this Court's decision in Stone against Powell from seeking a writ of habeas corpus in a Federal District Court.

Nevertheless, he sought federal habeas and federal court were addressed for the alleged constitutional violation by bringing a damaged suit under 42 United States Code Section 1983 against the officers who had entered his home and seized the evidence in question.

We granted certiorari to consider whether as the Court of Appeals held because of the unavailability of deferral habeas corpus.

The defendants were prevented from raising the state court’s partial rejection of McCurry's constitutional claim as a collateral estoppel defense to the 1983 suit against them.

For the reasons sent out in some detail in the Court opinion filed today, we hold that the Court of Appeals was mistaken in ruling that McCurry’s inability to obtain federal habeas corpus relief upon his Fourth Amendment claim renders -- rendered the doctrine of collateral estoppel inapplicable to his 1983 claim.

Accordingly, the judgment is reversed and the case is remanded to the Court of Appeals for proceedings consistent with this Court’s opinion filed with the clerk today.

Justice Blackmun has filed a dissenting opinion which Justice Brennan and Justice Marshall have joined.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Stewart.