Lane v. Brown

LOCATION: Clauson's Inn

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 372 US 477 (1963)
ARGUED: Jan 16, 1963 / Jan 17, 1963
DECIDED: Mar 18, 1963

Facts of the case


Media for Lane v. Brown

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 16, 1963 in Lane v. Brown

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 17, 1963 in Lane v. Brown

Earl Warren:

-- Ward Lane, Warden, petitioner, versus George Robert Brown.

Mr. Levy, you may continue your argument.

Nathan Levy:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

At the Court's recess yesterday, we had proceeded with the respondent's argument to the point of examining the Law of Indiana as expressed in the McCrary case.

And to resume that argument, I would like first simply to say that from the McCrary case, it is clearly established that the presence of a transcript is necessary to an appeal in the Supreme Court of Indiana and by transcript, we mean, the full blown transcript in its formal aspect.

It is also established in the Law of Indiana by the McCrary case that an indigent convicted prisoner goes to the Public Defender, and if the Public Defender refuses to accept his case, refuses to represent him, that prisoner is unable to obtain a transcript.

Potter Stewart:

The scope of this rule is limited to an appeal from denial of a coram nobis remedy, is it not?

Nathan Levy:

To the extent that it is expressed in the McCrary case, yes, Your Honor.

Potter Stewart:

And how about the statute?

Nathan Levy:

This -- the statute refers to belated appeals and apparently could be broaden to include the direct appeal as well.

Potter Stewart:

But it’s a post conviction and --

Nathan Levy:

This is a post conviction --

Potter Stewart:

It's limited to a post conviction, an appeal from the denial of a post conviction remedy.

Nathan Levy:

Yes, sir.

Potter Stewart:

May I ask you this while --

Nathan Levy:

Yes, sir.

Potter Stewart:

-- I've interrupted you.

Is there an absolute right to counsel in the trial court in a post conviction remedy?

In this case, the Public Defender did represent the petitioner in the trial court, in a coram nobis hearing.

Was that an absolute right under Indiana law?

Nathan Levy:

I would say that it is an absolute right taking the older cases.

I do not believe the question has been raised in recent years at least.

Now, from the McCrary case, it may also be gathered that there is some form of review.

It was used in the McCrary case and then after the Brown case was repeated in -- with slight changes in the Willoughby case.

But it seems to us unnecessary to examine into that review at the present time unless the Court desires to hear upon it because it was not available to Brown and he, by admission of the State, had exhausted all state remedies available to him prior to the time that the Willoughby case was decided.

Now when we turn to Brown's own case, we have a slightly different treatment both by this Court and by the court below.

When Brown first sought a writ of habeas corpus, it was denied him on the ground that he had failed to exhaust the state remedies.

Then, Brown proceeded through the various steps that McCrary proceeded through, and finally came before this Court with a petition for writ of certiorari upon the denial by the Supreme Court of Indiana of a writ of mandate to the Lake Criminal Court to provide him counsel and a transcript and permit him to appeal from the denied petition for writ of error coram nobis.

In this Court, instead of setting aside the dismissal of his action and remanding as had been done in the McCrary case, the Court denied certiorari without prejudice to Brown's right to bring habeas corpus in the appropriate Federal District Court.

Now Brown did go into the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Indiana --