474 U.S. 998 (1985)

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U.S. Supreme Court

KEMP v. BLAKE , 474 U.S. 998 (1985)

474 U.S. 998

Ralph KEMP, Warden
Joseph James BLAKE.
No. 85-188

Supreme Court of the United States

November 18, 1985

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

The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice WHITE, dissenting.

This case presents the question whether, in a habeas corpus proceeding presenting multiple claims for relief, an appellate court has jurisdiction to review an order of the district court without disposing of all of petitioner's claims. In his habeas petition to

Page 474 U.S. 998 , 999

the District Court, respondent presented 59 constitutional claims. The District Court found that three of these claims had merit and granted the writ, but expressly refused to rule on the remaining claims. Blake v. Zant, 513 F.Supp. 772 (SD Ga.1981). On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit originally held that, because the District Court's order did not finally determine all of the claims presented in the habeas petition, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b),1 there was no final judgment, and therefore, the court was without jurisdiction to consider the appeal under 28 U.S.C. 1291.2 Blake v. Zant, 737 F.2d 925, 928 (CA11 1984). On sua sponte reconsideration, however, the court determined that a district court order granting a writ of habeas corpus is a final judgment within the meaning of 1291, regardless of the district court's refusal to consider the remainder of petitioner's claims. 758 F.2d 523, 524-525 ( 1985).

This later decision of the Eleventh Circuit conflicts with the practice of the Eighth Circuit. That court has held that, when a district court grants habeas relief to a petitioner on some but not all of the claims presented for consideration, the court of appeals does not have jurisdiction to review the trial court's decision unless its order also finally disposes of the remainder of petitioner's claims. Stewart v. Bishop, 403 F.2d 674, 679-680 (CA8 1968). See also Gray v. Swenson, 430 F.2d 9, 11 (CA8 1970) (Rule 54(b) applies to prohibit appeals when fewer than all habeas claims are [474 U.S. 998 , 1000]

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