Dowd v. Cook
340 U.S. 206 (1951)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Dowd v. Cook, 340 U.S. 206 (1951)

Dowd v. Cook

No. 66

Argued November 28, 1950

Decided January 2, 1951

340 U.S. 206

Syllabus

In a habeas corpus proceeding brought by respondent in a Federal District Court in 1948, the court found that, in 1931 respondent was convicted of murder in an Indiana state court, sentenced to life imprisonment, and immediately confined in a state prison; that his timely appeal was prevented by the warden's suppression of his appeal papers pursuant to prison rules; that he sought unsuccessfully to have the state courts review his conviction by coram nobis in 1937 and by habeas corpus in 1947, and that, in 1946, his petition to the State Supreme Court for a delayed appeal was denied. The District Court ordered respondent's discharge, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held:

1. The prevention of respondent's original timely appeal by the warden's suppression of his appeal papers was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution. Pp. 340 U. S. 207-208.

2. Even if res judicata were applicable in habeas corpus proceedings, the 1946 litigation in the State Supreme Court was not res judicata of the issues in the present case. P. 340 U. S. 208.

3. Respondent did not "waive" his right of appeal. Pp. 340 U. S. 208-209.

4. In the circumstances of this case, nothing short of an actual appellate determination of the merits of the conviction will cure the original denial of equal protection of the law. P. 340 U. S. 209.

5. The judgments of the Court of Appeals and the District Court are vacated, and the cause is remanded with directions to the District Court to enter such orders as are appropriate to allow the State a reasonable time in which to afford respondent the full appellate review he would have received but for the suppression of his appeal papers, in default whereof by the State, respondent shall be discharged. Pp. 340 U. S. 209-210.

180 F.2d 212, judgment vacated.

Page 340 U. S. 207

In a habeas corpus proceeding seeking respondent's release from imprisonment under sentence of a state court, the District Court ordered respondent discharged. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 180 F.2d 212. This Court granted certiorari. 340 U.S. 849. Judgments vacated and cause remanded, p. 340 U. S. 210.

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