LaVallee v. Delle Rose,
410 U.S. 690 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

LaVallee v. Delle Rose, 410 U.S. 690 (1973)

LaVallee v. Delle Rose

No. 72-905

Decided March 19, 1973

410 U.S. 690


Respondent's conviction for murder was based on his two confessions that, in subsequent New York court proceedings, were found to have been voluntary. In federal habeas corpus proceedings, the District Court, feeling unable to accord the state court the presumption of correctness because the state trial judge did not articulate to what extent he credited or rejected evidence and respondent's testimony, held its own hearing, found both confessions involuntary, and ordered respondent discharged from custody unless he was retried without the confessions. The Court of Appeals affirmed on the ground that the state court's factual determination on the voluntariness issue did not meet the 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) requirement that it be accorded a presumption of correctness unless it appeared that the merits of the factual dispute were not resolved in the state court hearing.

Held: The state trial judge's determination, on the totality of the circumstances, evidences that he applied correct voluntariness standards and, since the District Court could have been reasonably certain that he would have granted relief if he had believed respondent's testimony, the courts below erroneously concluded that the opinion of the trial court did not meet the requirements of § 2254(d)(1).

Certiorari granted; 468 F.2d 1288, reversed and remanded.

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