JENNINGS V. ILLINOIS, 342 U. S. 104 (1951)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Jennings v. Illinois, 342 U.S. 104 (1951)

Jennings v. Illinois

No. 95

Argued November 5-6, 1951

Decided December 3, 1951*

342 U.S. 104


Under the Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act, petitioner, a prisoner in an Illinois penitentiary, filed in the state court in which he had been convicted a petition alleging facts sufficient to establish a prima facie violation of his rights under the Federal Constitution through the admission of a coerced confession in evidence at his trial. The State's Attorney did not deny these allegations, but moved to dismiss the petition on grounds of res judicata and failure to state a cause of action. The court dismissed the petition without a hearing or otherwise determining the factual issues presented. The State Supreme Court, without argument and without opinion, dismissed a writ of error by a form order reciting that it had examined and reviewed the petition and record in the post-conviction hearing and found the same to disclose no violation or denial of petitioner's constitutional rights.

Held: judgment vacated and cause remanded for further proceedings. Pp. 342 U. S. 105-112.

1. If his allegations are true, and if his claim has not been waived at or after trial, petitioner is held in custody in violation of federal constitutional rights, and he is entitled to his day in court for resolution of these issues. Pp. 342 U. S. 110-111.

2. On remand, petitioner should be advised whether his claim that his constitutional rights were infringed at his trial may be determined under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act, or whether that Act does not provide an appropriate state remedy in this case. P. 342 U. S. 111.

3. If petitioner's claim may be resolved in a proceeding under that Act, either by an inquiry into the verity of his factual allegations or a finding that his federal rights were waived during or after his trial, such resolution may proceed without further action by this Court. Pp. 342 U. S. 111-112.

4. If Illinois does not provide an appropriate remedy for such a determination, petitioner may proceed without more to apply to the United States District Court for a writ of habeas corpus. P. 342 U. S. 112.

Judgments vacated and causes remanded.

Page 342 U. S. 105

Illinois trial courts dismissed petitioners' petitions under the Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act, Ill.Rev.Stat., 1951, c. 38, §§ 826-832. The Illinois Supreme Court dismissed writs of error. This Court granted certiorari. 341 U.S. 947; 342 U.S. 811. Judgments vacated and causes remanded, p. 342 U. S. 112.

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