460 U.S. 1093 (1983)

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U.S. Supreme Court

SPALDING v. AIKEN , 460 U.S. 1093 (1983)

460 U.S. 1093

James SPALDING et al.
Arthur Nathaniel AIKEN
No. 82-665

Supreme Court of the United States

April 18, 1983

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.

Chief Justice BURGER, statement concerning the denial of certiorari.

The time has come to consider limitations on the availability of the writ of habeas corpus in federal courts, especially

Page 460 U.S. 1093 , 1094

for prisoners pressing stale claims that were fully ventilated in state courts. Others have expressed frustration in coping with stale cases, see, e.g., Illinois v. Allen, 397 U.S. 337, 351, 357, 1064, 1067 (1970) (Douglas, J., concurring); McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 773, 1450 (1970), and this petition underscores the views of those who have expressed concern as to the misuse and abuse of the writ. Relief on claims presented many years after conviction should be limited to cases in which the petitioner can demonstrate a miscarriage of justice or a colorable claim of innocence. The astonishing facts underlying this petition are illustrative and instructive.

Justice BLACKMUN would grant certiorari.

On October 14, 1965, a jury in King County, Washington, found Arthur Aiken and his co-defendant guilty of murder in the first degree for the robbery and slayings of three gas station attendants in separate incidents within one month. Each victim was shot several times. The jury imposed the death penalty. On direct appeal, Aiken advanced numerous challenges to his conviction. Following a remand to the trial court, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and the sentence, 72 Wash.2d 306, 434 P.2d 10 (Wash.1967). On petition for certiorari to this Court, the conviction was vacated and the case remanded for reconsideration in light of Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123 ( 1968), 392 U.S. 652 (1968). After a second petition for certiorari, the conviction was again vacated and remanded for reconsideration in light of Maxwell v. Bishop, 398 U.S. 262 (1970), Boulden v. Holman, 394 U.S. 478 (1969), and Witherspoon v. Ill., 391 U.S. 510 (1968), 403 U.S. 946d 856 (1971). The state trial court then resentenced Aiken to three consecutive life prison terms.

On July 26, 1979, fourteen years after his original conviction and eight years after his resentencing, Aiken filed this petition in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington under 28 U.S.C. 2254. He raised claims concerning pretrial publicity, the voluntariness of his confession, and the trial court's failure to grant severance- [460 U.S. 1093 , 1095]

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