Wainwright v. Sykes Case Brief

Why is the case important?

Sykes was convicted of murder for shooting and killing Willie Gilbert (“Mr. Gilbert”) in Florida. He made incriminating statements to police, which were admitted during his trial. Sykes did not object to the admission of the statements.

Facts of the case


Can Sykes’ petition be brought under 28 U.S.C. Section:2254(a), which provides that the federal courts shall entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States?


Sykes’ failure to make a timely objection under the Florida contemporaneous-objection rule to the admission of his inculpatory statements, absent a showing of cause for the noncompliance and some showing of actual prejudice, bars federal habeas corpus review of his Miranda claim.



  • Case Brief: 1977
  • Petitioner: Wainwright
  • Respondent: Sykes
  • Decided by: Burger Court

Citation: 433 US 72 (1977)
Argued: Mar 29, 1977
Decided: Jun 23, 1977