Parker v. Ellis - Oral Argument - January 20, 1960 (Part 2)

Parker v. Ellis

Media for Parker v. Ellis

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 20, 1960 (Part 1) in Parker v. Ellis

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 20, 1960 (Part 2) in Parker v. Ellis

Earl Warren:

Mr. Pesek, you may proceed.

Leon F. Pesek:

Thank you, sir.

Mr. Justice Stewart asked me a question before recess I would like to go into and that involved the case of United States -- Pollard versus the United States.

In that case, Your Honor, the petitioner there was convicted of a federal offense at an earlier time and he thought he was being led off that without any sentence at all.

He left the courtroom and later on that day, the District Attorney came up to the judge and said, “Judge, what are you going to do about Mr. Pollard?”

He says, “Oh, yes, give him three years and probate the sentence.”

Some two years later, he got into some more trouble of federal offense.

It faded me just what it was.

And instead of going and trying in for that one, the judge revoked the probation and he was confined in the penitentiary.

He filed for his writ of habeas corpus, but in --

Potter Stewart:

And that was under Section 2255.

Leon F. Pesek:

On the -- that's right, sir.

And then, in that case, he was saying that the judgement itself was unlawful that the Court did not have jurisdiction to try the case because there's no question about him not being present or his attorney being present at the time and as a matter of fact, he didn't even know that he was under such a sentence.

And that -- in that particular case, they said however that because there -- there were other factors involved that would make the -- him lose on his merits, they refused to -- this Court had refused to grant him the writ because it said it would not -- it would serve no use for purpose, because he would lose on his merits, if they send it back to the trial in the federal court.

This Court also held that it will not render a judgement unless it can in some way be of material effect.

Now, comparing that case with -- to our present case, where we -- we come to the question of some type of moral stigma that might be placed upon the petitioner here.

The one stigma that was alleged it might -- could have occur would be that of a -- his failure to vote.

But the records of this case disclosed that he had been previously convicted in other States on -- I believe it was eight other felonies under Texas law whether this case was set aside or not, he would lose.

He would not be able to vote.

Also, I might call the Court's attention to the language that he used in the St. Pierre case where the man was saying that -- applicant was also saying that -- suggesting that the judgement might impair his credibility as a witness in future legal proceedings, the Court here held that the moral stigma of a judgement which no longer affects legal rights, does not present a case or controversy for appellate review since it causes moot, the writ will be dismissed.

What was then a Texas voting (Inaudible)

Leon F. Pesek:

The -- the statute, Your Honor, is --

(Inaudible)

Leon F. Pesek:

Oh, yes.

The -- just for a moment, sir.

That is Harwell versus Morris, 143 S. W. 2d 809.

That's in my -- I believe I quoted that in my brief.

And in that case, if you want me -- would you want me to discuss that?

No, is that your law in Texas?

Leon F. Pesek:

The law in Texas -- yes, sir.