Wade v. Wilson
396 U.S. 282 (1970)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Wade v. Wilson, 396 U.S. 282 (1970)

Wade v. Wilson

No. 55

Argued November 12, 1969

Decided January 13, 1970

396 U.S. 282

Syllabus

Petitioner and a codefendant were convicted of murder and given life sentences. Petitioner's codefendant received a free copy of the transcript for preparing his appeal, but, contrary to California court rules, would not share it with petitioner, who was then loaned a copy by the State for preparing his appeal. The convictions were affirmed. Several years later petitioner, having fruitlessly sought the transcript from his codefendant, and having been denied a free copy of his own by the California courts in connection with collateral proceedings in the state courts, brought this habeas corpus proceeding alleging his indigency and contending that California's failure to provide him a free transcript violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The District Court granted the writ. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the trial court failed to find that petitioner claimed error in the proceedings leading to his conviction that warranted post-conviction relief and that petitioner was not entitled to a transcript "to enable him to comb the record in the hope of discovering some flaw."

Held:

1. Petitioner may not attack the state court rules, which concern only the furnishing of transcripts for purposes of direct appeal, since petitioner had the transcript for that purpose and did not complain that his having it only on loan impaired its use on appeal. Pp. 396 U. S. 285-286.

2. This Court need not decide whether the Constitution requires a State to furnish indigent prisoners with free copies of trial transcripts to aid in preparing petitions for collateral relief unless and until it appears that petitioner cannot again borrow a copy from the State, or procure one from his codefendant or other custodian; or show that it would be significantly more advantageous for him to own, rather than borrow a copy. Pp. 396 U. S. 286-287.

District Court judgment and 390 F.2d 632, vacated and remanded.

Page 396 U. S. 283

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