Wainwright v. Sykes

LOCATION:James R. Browning Courthouse

DOCKET NO.: 75-1578
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 433 US 72 (1977)
ARGUED: Mar 29, 1977
DECIDED: Jun 23, 1977

Charles Corces, Jr. – for petitioner
Edward R. Korman – for the U.S., as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court
William F. Casler – for respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Wainwright v. Sykes

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – March 29, 1977 in Wainwright v. Sykes

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – June 23, 1977 in Wainwright v. Sykes

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in 75-1578, Wainwright against Sykes and the judgment and opinion of the Court in 75-1874, Jones against North Carolina Prisoners’ Union will be announced by Mr. Justice Rehnquist.

William H. Rehnquist:

In the first of these cases, Wainwright versus Sykes is granted certiorari in view of the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Respondent Sykes was convicted of third degree murder after a jury trial in the Circuit Court of DeSoto County, Florida.

Among the evidence indicating that Sykes had shot one, Willie Gilbert in the front yard of Sykes’ trailer home was a statement which Sykes gave to the police shortly after the shooting and after full Miranda warnings.

There was no objection to the admission into evidence at or before the time of trial as required by a Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure.

The conviction was affirmed by the Florida Appellate Courts.

Sykes then filed a present federal habeas action advancing the Miranda claim.

The District Court and the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the right to hearing on a voluntariness of a confession is guaranteed by our earlier decision in Jackson against Denno.

They also held that notwithstanding, not the failure to comply with the Florida objection rule, respondent could raise his constitutional claim in the federal habeas proceeding.

The Court of Appeals remanded the case to the state court for a hearing on Sykes’ his constitutional claims.

We reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and an opinion file with the clerk today, we hold that the deliberate bypass test articulate this Court’s opinion in Fay against Noia is not the proper test for determining the availability of federal habeas review in this case or direct review of the Miranda question was — would be barred by failure to comply with the state timely objection rule.

The proper test in one which gives more weight to the integrity of state procedural rules, we think is the one set forth in Francis versus Henderson decided last year, which allows federal habeas review of such claims only upon a showing of cause for failure to comply with the state rule and prejudice resulting from the alleged underlying color of constitutional violation.

On the facts of this case, we have no difficulty concluding that neither cause nor prejudice have been shown and therefore, respondent, Sykes, was not entitled to raise this claim for the first time in federal habeas proceedings.

The Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Stevens have filed concurring opinions.

Mr. Justice White has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.

Mr. Justice Brennan has filed a dissenting opinion in which Mr. Justice Marshall has joined.