PROCUNIER V. ATCHLEY, 400 U. S. 446 (1971)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Procunier v. Atchley, 400 U.S. 446 (1971)

Procunier v. Atchley

No. 44

Argued November 18, 1970

Decided January 19, 1971

400 U.S. 446


Respondent was convicted in 1959 of murdering his wife. A recorded statement, made in jail to an insurance agent in connection with discussion of a policy on the life of respondent's wife, was admitted into evidence at the trial. The California Supreme Court affirmed the conviction, finding the statement voluntary. Respondent later sought federal habeas corpus relief, contending that the statement was involuntary. The District Court granted relief on the ground that the trial court had excluded relevant evidence on the issue of voluntariness, and thus "did not reliably determine whether [the] confession was voluntary or involuntary." The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: An applicant for federal habeas corpus relief is not entitled to a new hearing on the voluntariness of a statement introduced at his trial merely because he can point to shortcomings in the state court procedure used to decide the voluntariness issue, as he must also show (which respondent did not do in this case) that his version of the events, if true, would require the conclusion that the statement was involuntary. Pp. 400 U. S. 451-454.

412 F.2d 230, reversed.

STEWART, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and DOUGLAS, HARLAN, BRENNAN, WHITE, MARSHALL, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. BLACK, J., filed a concurring statement, post, p. 400 U. S. 454.

Page 400 U. S. 447

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