1. That a person was forcibly abducted and taken from one state
to another to be tried for a crime does not invalidate his
conviction in a court of the latter state under the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Ker v. Illinois,
119 U. S. 436
342 U. S.
2. A different result is not required by the Federal Kidnapping
Act, even if the abduction was a violation of that Act. Pp.
342 U. S.
3. There being sound arguments to support the conclusion of the
Court of Appeals in this case that there were "special
circumstances" which required prompt federal intervention, that
conclusion is accepted by this Court without deciding whether state
remedies had been exhausted before relief from state imprisonment
was sought in a federal court. Pp. 342 U. S.
189 F.2d 464, reversed.
The district court denied respondent's petition for a writ of
habeas corpus. The Court of Appeals reversed. 189 F.2d 464. This
Court granted certiorari. 342 U.S. 865. Reversed,
342 U. S.
MR. JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.
Acting as his own lawyer, [Footnote 1
] the respondent Shirley Collins brought this
habeas corpus case in a United States
Page 342 U. S. 520
District Court seeking release from a Michigan state prison,
where he is serving a life sentence for murder. His petition
alleges that, while he was living in Chicago, Michigan officers
forcibly seized, handcuffed, blackjacked, and took him to Michigan.
He claims that trial and conviction under such circumstances is in
violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and
the Federal Kidnaping Act, [Footnote 2
] and that therefore his conviction is a
The District Court denied the writ without a hearing on the
ground that the state court had power to try respondent "regardless
of how presence was procured." The Court of Appeals, one judge
dissenting, reversed, and remanded the cause for hearing. 189 F.2d
464. It held that the Federal Kidnaping Act had changed the rule,
declared in prior holdings of this Court, that a state could
constitutionally try and convict a defendant after acquiring
jurisdiction by force. [Footnote
] To review this important question, we granted certiorari.
342 U.S. 865.
We must first dispose of the state's contention that the
District Court should have denied relief on the ground that
respondent had an available state remedy. This argument of the
state is a little cloudy, apparently because of the state attorney
general's doubt that any state procedure used could possibly lead
to the granting of relief. There is no doubt that, as a general
rule, federal courts should deny the writ to state prisoners if
there is "available State corrective process." 62 Stat. 967, 28
U.S.C. § 2254. [Footnote 4
explained in Darr v.
Page 342 U. S. 521
U.S. 200, 339 U. S. 210
this general rule is not rigid and inflexible; district courts may
deviate from it and grant relief in special circumstances. Whether
such circumstances exist calls for a factual appraisal by the court
in each special situation. Determination of this issue, like
others, is largely left to the trial courts subject to appropriate
review by the courts of appeals.
The trial court, pointing out that the Michigan Supreme Court
had previously denied relief, apparently assumed that no further
state corrective process was available, [Footnote 5
] and decided against respondent on the
merits. Failure to discuss the availability of state relief may
have been due to the fact that the state did not raise the
question; indeed, the record shows no appearance of the state.
] The Court of
Appeals did expressly consider the question exhaustion of state
remedies. It found the existence of
Page 342 U. S. 522
"special circumstances" which required prompt federal
intervention "in this case." It would serve no useful purpose to
review those special circumstances in detail. They are peculiar to
this case, may never come up again, and a discussion of them could
not give precision to the "special circumstances" rule. It is
sufficient to say that there are sound arguments to support the
Court of Appeals' conclusion that prompt decision of the issues
raised was desirable. We accept its findings in this respect.
This Court has never departed from the rule announced in Ker
v. Illinois, 119 U. S. 436
119 U. S. 444
that the power of a court to try a person for crime is not impaired
by the fact that he had been brought within the court's
jurisdiction by reason of a "forcible abduction." [Footnote 7
] No persuasive reasons are now
presented to justify overruling this line of cases. They rest on
the sound basis that due process of law is satisfied when one
present in court is convicted of crime after having been fairly
apprized of the charges against him, and after a fair trial in
accordance with constitutional procedural safeguards. There is
nothing in the Constitution that requires a court to permit a
guilty person rightfully convicted to escape justice because he was
brought to trial against his will.
Despite our prior decisions, the Court of Appeals, relying on
the Federal Kidnaping Act, held that respondent was entitled to the
writ if he could prove the facts he alleged. The Court thought that
to hold otherwise after the passage of the Kidnaping Act "would, in
practical effect, lend encouragement to the commission of criminal
acts by those sworn to enforce the law." In considering whether the
law of our prior cases has been changed by the Federal Kidnaping
Act, we assume, without intimating that it is so, that the Michigan
officers would have violated it if the facts are as alleged. This
Page 342 U. S. 523
in some detail the severe sanctions Congress wanted it to have.
Persons who have violated it can be imprisoned for a term of years
or for life; under some circumstances, violators can be given the
death sentence. We think the Act cannot fairly be construed so as
to add to the list of sanctions detailed a sanction barring a state
from prosecuting persons wrongfully brought to it by its officers.
It may be that Congress could add such a sanction. [Footnote 8
] We cannot.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and that of the
District Court is affirmed.
It is so ordered.
We appointed counsel to represent respondent in this Court.
342 U. S.
47 Stat. 326, as amended, 18 U.S.C. § 1201.
Ker v. Illinois, 119 U. S. 436
Mahon v. Justice, 127 U. S. 700
See also Lascelles v. Georgia, 148 U.
; In re Johnson, 167 U.
"An application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall
not be granted unless it appears that the applicant has exhausted
the remedies available in the courts of the State, or that there is
either an absence of available State corrective process or the
existence of circumstances rendering such process ineffective to
protect the rights of the prisoner.
"An applicant shall not be deemed to have exhausted the remedies
available in the courts of the State, within the meaning of this
section, if he has the right under the law of the State to raise,
by any available procedure, the question presented."
The Court said,
"Petitioner originally filed a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus in the Supreme Court of the Michigan which was denied on
June 22, 1949. He then filed a petition for a writ in this
District, on the ground that the complaint in the state court
action was defective, and that a faulty warrant was issued for his
arrest, claiming further that he was kidnapped by Michigan Police
authorities in Chicago, Illinois, and brought to Michigan for
trial. This petition was also denied."
So far as the record shows, the state's first objection to
federal court consideration of this case was made after the Court
of Appeals decided in respondent's favor. A motion for rehearing
then filed alleged that respondent had made several futile efforts
to have his conviction reviewed. The motion also denied that the
particular ground here relied on had previously been raised.
cases cited supra, note 2
Cf. Mahon v. Justice, supra, n
3, 127 U. S.