McNally v. Hill,
293 U.S. 131 (1934)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McNally v. Hill, 293 U.S. 131 (1934)

McNally v. Hill

No. 15

Argued October 12, 1934

Decided November 5, 1934

293 U.S. 131


1. A prisoner who had been convicted and sentenced on three counts of an indictment, the sentence on the first count running concurrently with that on the second, and the sentence on the second and third counts running consecutively, petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, asserting the invalidity of the conviction and sentence on the third count, and assigning as reason for the granting of the writ that consideration by the Parole Board of any application for a parole was precluded as a result of the void sentence. It was conceded that the sentence on the second count, the validity of which was not challenged, had not expired, and that service of sentence on the third had not yet begun. Held that, as the detention under the sentence on the second count was lawful, the writ of habeas corpus could not be used to inquire into the validity of the conviction under the third count. P. 293 U. S. 135.

2. The meaning of the term habeas corpus and the appropriate use of the writ in the federal courts must be ascertained by reference to

Page 293 U. S. 132

the common law and to the decisions of this Court interpreting and applying the common law principles which define its use when authorized by the statute. P. 293 U. S. 136.

3. The Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, 31 Car. II, c. 2, and the decisions of the English courts interpreting it have been accepted by this Court as authoritative guides in defining the principles which control the use of the writ in the federal courts. P. 293 U. S. 136.

4. The writ of habeas corpus may not be used in the federal courts as a means of securing the judicial decision of a question which, even if determined in the prisoner's favor, could not result in his immediate release. P. 293 U. S. 136.

5. A sentence which the prisoner has not begun to serve cannot be the cause of restraint which the statute makes subject to judicial inquiry. P. 293 U. S. 137.

6. This Court has consistently refused, wherever the issue has been presented, to review upon habeas corpus questions which do not concern the lawfulness of the detention. P. 293 U. S. 139.

69 F.2d 38 affirmed.

Certiorari, 292 U.S. 619, to review a judgment affirming a judgment dismissing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Page 293 U. S. 133

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