Eskridge v. Washington State Board of Prison Terms and Parole

RESPONDENT: Washington State Board of Prison Terms and Parole
LOCATION: Alabama State Capitol

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)

CITATION: 357 US 214 (1958)
ARGUED: May 19, 1958
DECIDED: Jun 16, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for Eskridge v. Washington State Board of Prison Terms and Parole

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - May 19, 1958 in Eskridge v. Washington State Board of Prison Terms and Parole

Earl Warren:

Number 96, Tom Eskridge, versus Washington State Board of Prison Terms and Paroles.

Robert W. Graham:

Mr. Chief Justice --

Earl Warren:

Mr. Graham.

Robert W. Graham:

-- and members of the Court.

The question presented to the Court on this review is, I think, simply stated, while this petitioner who was a pauper, an indigent person denied adequate and effective appellate review under the rule of this case in Griffin versus Illinois by the State of Washington because of his poverty in that first, he was denied a statement of facts whether that statement of facts be in the form of a stenographic transcript or otherwise.

And secondly, in that he was not afforded the assistance of counsel on appeal.

In brief statement, the facts before this Court are as follows.

The action is here on certiorari to review the judgment of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington denying the writ of habeas corpus sought by this petitioner.

Under the record, an information was filed back in 1935.

The petitioner was charged with murder in the first degree.

He was represented by appointed counsel in the trial court, was appointed on October 17th.

A trial of some nine days began on November 4th.

The judgment and sentence following a verdict of conviction was entered on December 14th, and two days later on the 16th of December, he was incarcerated in the Washington State Penitentiary.

There, while in the prison and without the benefit of counsel, he sought by correspondence and subsequent motion filed with the trial judge a “transcript of all the records” in his case and in other references that was designated as a transcript to the evidence -- a transcript to the trial proceedings.

The State represented by the prosecuting attorney and the trial judge treated the application or request as an application for a statement of facts, which is a term of art incorporated to the Washington procedural rule in statutes.

The petitioner sought the transcript of records or stenographic transcript or statement of facts, whatever you please to call it, under the provisions of a Washington State statute establishing our official court recorder of system under the terms of which to an indigent defendant, the transcript or stenographic transcript of the trial record which is made by the official court recorder, may be furnished at county expense to the indigent defendant if in the mind or in the opinion of the trial judge, the “ends of justice” will be served.

The application was resisted by the county attorney who went to the point of securing an affidavit from the previously appointed trial counsel.

The application was denied by the trial judge who concluded that the ends of justice would not be served by the furnishing of the transcript.

And thereafter and within the time for appeal, the petitioner sought a writ of mandate in the Washington State Supreme Court requesting that the Supreme Court of Washington be directed to compel the trial judge to furnish the transcript as requested.

Now, in his application, the petitioner's application for this writ of mandate, he asserted trial errors which are outlined in the brief of petitioner at pages 22 and 23 which on -- I shall not state, they were errors, suffice to say which could not be resolved, save and except by a review of the entire trial proceedings.

They were not errors appearing on the so-called clerk's record which would consist simply of the docket entries for the papers of record.

The State made and does make no assertion that the appeal was prosecuted other than in complete good faith nor is there any contention that this is a frivolous appeal or that the petitioner sought a frivolous appeal.

Furthermore, I think, they're appropriate to point out that before the trial court, the State did not contend that the complete transcript of the trial proceedings in stenographic form or otherwise was unnecessary to the review by the Washington State Supreme Court of the judgment of conviction.

There was adequate showing made in the trial court and in the Supreme Court of the State of Washington as to the indigence of the defendant and he endeavored in both the application for writ of mandate and in his application for the free transcript to proceed without the benefit of counsel.

There is no waiver of the right of counsel on appeal in the record.

He did advise the trial court that he would proceed pro se, as he indicated.

Charles E. Whittaker:

May I ask the rule of violation of (Inaudible)?

Robert W. Graham:

Yes, sir.

He gave oral notice of appeal which under our procedure, he's conformed to our statutory procedure.

Charles E. Whittaker:

Oral notice?