Carnley v. Cochran

LOCATION: United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962)

CITATION: 369 US 506 (1962)
ARGUED: Feb 20, 1962 / Feb 21, 1962
DECIDED: Apr 30, 1962

Facts of the case


Media for Carnley v. Cochran

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 21, 1962 in Carnley v. Cochran

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 20, 1962 in Carnley v. Cochran

Earl Warren:

Number 158, Willard Carnley, Petitioner, versus H.G.Cochran, Junior, Director of the Division of Corrections.

Mr. Ward.

Harold A. Ward, III:

Mr. Chief Justice, before going in to my argument on this case, I would like to move the Court, if the Court please, that counsel for the respondent, James G. Mahorner, Assistant Attorney General of the State of Florida, be permitted to argue this course, pro hac vice.

Earl Warren:

We're very happy to grant your motion.

Harold A. Ward, III:

Thank you.

May the Court please.

This is a habeas corpus proceeding which was instituted by the petitioner in the Florida Supreme Court.

It was instituted to test the legality of the petitioner's detention by the State of Florida.

The petitioner was convicted on two counts along with his wife who is also charged with two counts of incest and so-called fondling or lewd and lascivious behavior and trial took place on September 19th, 1958.

It was a trial before a jury.

Petitioner was not aided by counsel in the course of his trial.

His wife is not a party to the proceedings in this Court, thus, I will deal only with the allegation that's set forth concerning the petitioner.

Summarizing briefly, the allegations of the petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed in the Florida Court were as follows.

First, the petitioner is being illegally restrained by the State contrary both to the Florida Declaration of Rights and to the Fourteenth Amendment of United States Constitution.

Second, the petitioner was arrested on November 5th, 1957.

He was held until September 8th, 1958 when he was tried before a jury on September 19th, 1958, convicted and sentenced to a term of from six months to 20 years.

Petition alleged that the petitioner was completely without education and “cannot recount the ABCs” that he “did not posses the most elementary rudiments of criminal procedure”.

He was held in solitary confinement so he alleged for five months.

He was not advised of his right to arraignment without unnecessary delay and he was held without a charge against him from November 5th, 1957 to August 11th, 1958.

He also alleged that he requested lie detector test that he did request defense counsel to assist him in his trial that he protested his innocence and his inability to conduct to defense, and that when he attempted to cross-examine the prosecuting witness, he was ordered to sit down.

He also requested that he -- he also alleged that he requested blood test and that no medical doctor testified at the trial and further prosecution waited until after the birth of the prosecuting witness' child to fix the date with the alleged defense occurred.

Finally, he made a legal argument that the two crimes of fondling and incest cannot coexist under the Florida law and he prayed for issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.

Florida Supreme Court issued such a writ referred to in this Court's recent opinion on McNeal versus Culver I believe is a provisional writ on June 16th, 1960 requiring the respondent to make a proper return to the petitioner's petition.

Summarizing again, the allegations of the return to the writ of habeas corpus, they were as follows.

First, the respondent held petitioner pursuant to a commitment predicated on a judgment and cent -- centered by the Florida trial court on September 19th, 1958 after a jury verdict against the petitioner on both counts.

Second, the petitioner was arrested on November 5th, 1957 on a warrant issued by the county judge, which was predicated on an affidavit charging the crimes of rape and fondling allegedly occurring on October 31st, 1957.

On August 8th, 1958, respondent alleged the grand jury returned an indictment against the petitioner charging the crimes of incest and fondling allegedly occurring on July 10th, 1957.

And the prosecuting attorneys subsequently filed an information based on the indictment which is the document upon which petitioner was tried on September 19th.

The respondent asserted that -- in fact the petitioner waived the jury trial but nonetheless, the court required the submission of the issues to a jury.

Respondent denied that petitioner was totally unable to defend himself.