Stembridge v. Georgia - 343 U.S. 541 (1952)
U.S. Supreme Court
Stembridge v. Georgia, 343 U.S. 541 (1952)
Stembridge v. Georgia
Argued April 22, 1952
Decided May 26, 1952
343 U.S. 541
Having been convicted in a Georgia state court of involuntary manslaughter and his conviction having been affirmed by the Court of Appeals of Georgia, petitioner moved in the trial court for a new trial on the ground of newly discovered evidence. Denial of .this motion by the trial court was affirmed by the Court of Appeals on adequate state ground. Petitioner then moved in the Court of Appeals for a rehearing on that decision and, for the first time, attempted to claim a violation of his federal constitutional rights. This motion was denied by the Court of Appeals without opinion, and the Supreme Court of Georgia denied certiorari without opinion. Thereafter, petitioner obtained from the Court of Appeals an amendment of the record purporting to show that, on the motion for rehearing, it had considered the federal constitutional question and decided it adversely to petitioner. Without seeking a review of this amending order in the Supreme Court of Georgia, petitioner applied to this Court for certiorari, which was granted.
Held: it now appearing that the decision of the Supreme Court of Georgia might have rested on an adequate state ground, the writ of certiorari was improvidently granted, and the case is dismissed. Pp. 343 U. S. 542-548.
1. Since the Supreme Court of Georgia, which was the highest state court in which a decision could be had in this case, was not asked to pass upon and did not pass upon the amending order of the Court of Appeals, this Court has no occasion to consider its effect. P. 343 U. S. 546.
2. Since the Supreme Court of Georgia's earlier denial of certiorari without opinion might have rested on an adequate state ground, this Court will not take jurisdiction to review that judgment. Pp. 343 U. S. 546-547.
3. The amending order of the Georgia Court of Appeals does not change the posture of this case, since it does not remove the strong possibility, in the light of Georgia law, that the Supreme Court of Georgia might have rested its order denying certiorari on a nonfederal ground. P. 343 U. S. 547.
A writ of certiorari having been improvidently granted in this case, 342 U.S. 940, the case is dismissed, p. 343 U. S. 548.