Gryger v. Burke
334 U.S. 728 (1948)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Gryger v. Burke, 334 U.S. 728 (1948)

Gryger v. Burke

No. 541

Argued April 26-27, 1948

Decided June 14, 1948

334 U.S. 728

Syllabus

Petitioner was charged and convicted in a state court of Pennsylvania of being a fourth offender, and sentenced to life imprisonment. In the proceeding on the fourth-offender charge, the only question of fact before the court was whether he was the same person who was convicted in four previous cases, and this he admitted, and does not now deny.

Held:

1. It is for the Pennsylvania courts to say whether the sentencing judge made an error in construing the Pennsylvania Habitual Criminal Act as making a life sentence mandatory, and not discretionary, and an error by a state court in construing state law is not a denial of due process under the Federal Constitution. P. 731.

2. In the circumstances disclosed by the record in this case, the State's failure to provide counsel for petitioner on his plea to the fourth-offender charge was not a denial of due process. Bute v. Illinois,333 U. S. 640. P. 334 U. S. 731.

3. The fact that one of the convictions that entered into the calculations by which petitioner became a fourth offender occurred before the Pennsylvania Habitual Criminal Act was passed does not make the Act invalidly retroactive or subject the petitioner to double jeopardy. P. 334 U. S. 732.

Affirmed.

Certiorari, 332 U.S. 854, to review denial of writ of habeas corpus. Affirmed, p. 334 U. S. 732.

Page 334 U. S. 729

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