Schlup v. Delo

LOCATION:Arkansas General Assembly

DOCKET NO.: 93-7901
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 513 US 298 (1995)
ARGUED: Oct 03, 1994
DECIDED: Jan 23, 1995

Jeremiah W. Nixon – on behalf of the Respondent
Sean D. O’Brien – on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Schlup v. Delo

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – October 03, 1994 in Schlup v. Delo

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – January 23, 1995 in Schlup v. Delo

William H. Rehnquist:

The second case which I have to announce today is number 93-7901 Lloyd Schlup v. Paul K. Delo.

The petitioner Lloyd Schlup a Missouri prisoner, was convicted of participating in the murder of a fellow inmate and sentenced to death.

The case comes to us on review of Schlup’s second federal Habeas Corpus petition, in which we alleged that constitutional error deprived the Jury of Critical Evidence that would have established his innocence.

The District Court without conducting an evidentiary hearing decline to reach the merits of the showing of actual innocence.

A holding of the petitioner could not satisfy the threshold showing required by our decision in a case called Sawyer v. Whitley that was decided several years ago.

Under that case the petitioner has to show “by clear and convincing evidence that, but for a constitutional error, no reasonable juror would have found” the defendant guilty and the Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit affirm this.

We granted Certiorari to consider whether the Sawyer standard provides adequate protection against the kind of miscarriage of justice that would result from the execution of a prisoner is actually innocent.

In an opinion authored by Justice Stevens and filed with the clerk the Court concludes that the standard of Murray v. Carrier another decision of ours on this subject which requires that a Habeas petitioner show that “a constitutional violation has probably resulted in the conviction of one who is actually innocent” rather than the more stringent Sawyer standard, governs the miscarriage of justice inquiry, when claim of actual innocence on the merits of the crime is raised.

Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is vacated and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

Justice O’Connor while joining the Court’s opinion has filed a concurring opinion.

I have also filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Kennedy and Thomas have joined, and Justice Scalia has filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Thomas has joined.