Angelet v. Fay

PETITIONER: Angelet
RESPONDENT: Fay
LOCATION: Harris County Justice of Peace Courts

DOCKET NO.: 578
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 381 US 654 (1965)
ARGUED: Mar 11, 1965
DECIDED: Jun 07, 1965

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Angelet v. Fay

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 11, 1965 in Angelet v. Fay

Earl Warren:

Number 578 George Angelet, Petitioner, versus Edward M. Fay, Warden.

Mr. Polsky.

Leon B. Polsky:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

George Angelet brings his case to the Federal Court not under Mapp against Ohio.

His claim is under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and under Section 2241 of the Judicial Code.

His claim in the language of the statute that he is now in custody in violation of the constitution.

The state asks that in determining whether George Angelet is now in custody in violation of the statute.

Potter Stewart:

And may I just ask, if that could be your basis of your argument of the court, does this mean that you are not attacking the validity of the conviction, the initial conviction?

Leon B. Polsky:

We have two phases of our case.

Our attack is first upon the present custody.

Our attack is also upon the conviction.

Potter Stewart:

Well I suppose, you would prevail on the first one, this would still lead to conviction standing order?

Leon B. Polsky:

I would suspect that the conviction would then be vacated and he would then be retried by order of the State Court.

Potter Stewart:

I don't follow that, if you are not attacking the conviction, but only the illegality of the present detention then why would that not mean simply that he would be released from the present detention, but a conviction stands.

Leon B. Polsky:

Historically, in all the cases that I have seen where writs of Habeas Corpus have been sustained, the practice has been to issue a conditional writ discharging the prisoner from custody unless he is retried within a reasonable time.

Potter Stewart:

Yes but Mr. Polsky, I suggest that in all of those cases, if it's been on the ground that the -- the attack has been on the initial conviction, but your opening sentence was and you just said, you have got alternative arguments here.

One argument is premised on the illegality, the present detention --

Leon B. Polsky:

Yes sir.

Potter Stewart:

And then your second argument is on the illegality of the initial conviction.

Leon B. Polsky:

Yes sir.

Potter Stewart:

But I don't understand if you prevail on the first argument, how that would result in vacating the conviction, why would it not result in nothing more than his release from the present detention?

Leon B. Polsky:

Because in order to release him from the present detention, you must destroy the order which is the basis of holding the man in custody.

You must vacate the sentence part of the judgment under which the defendant is being held.

Potter Stewart:

Well, then I suggest then, we are only making one argument, not making two.

Is your point, I suppose that this is the equivalent as though this man were in jail without any trial at all.

And just as, because you say he is unconstitutionally there, certainly if a person were picked up and arrested and put in jail for a term of years without any trial at all, that would be quite obviously unconstitutional.

You are saying therefore, he is entitled to his release and then, it's up to the state whether or not they want to try him fairly and squarely in accordance of the constitution, is that right.

Leon B. Polsky:

No, I still stick to this sir.

I think there can be a distinction made between the present detention, because the statute makes that distinction.

Byron R. White:

Yes, but if you have to reach the trial order, you have to reach the conviction and the order resulting from it.