GOSA V. MAYDEN, 413 U. S. 665 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Gosa v. Mayden, 413 U.S. 665 (1973)

Gosa v. Mayden

No. 71-6314

Argued December 4, 1972

Decided June 25, 1973*

413 U.S. 665


In No. 71-6314, petitioner was tried by court-martial and convicted of rape. His conviction was affirmed by the Air Force Board of Review, and the Court of Military Appeals denied a petition for review. At no time during the trial and review proceedings did petitioner question the jurisdiction of the military tribunal. Thereafter, following the decision in O'Callahan v. Parker, 395 U. S. 258 (holding that, when a serviceman is charged with a crime that is not "service connected" he is entitled to indictment by a grand jury and trial by jury in a civilian court), petitioner sought a writ of habeas corpus in Federal District Court which was denied, the court concluding that the standards promulgated in Stovall v. Denno, 388 U. S. 293, precluded retroactive application of O'Callahan. On appeal, in face of the Government's concession that the offense was not service connected, the Court of Appeals affirmed. In No. 71-1398, respondent, while absent without leave in 1944, was apprehended in Pennsylvania while in an automobile stolen in New Jersey. He was tried by court-martial in New York on charges of unauthorized absence from his duty station during wartime and theft of an automobile from a civilian. He pleaded guilty, and after serving two years' confinement was dishonorably discharged in 1946. He instituted suit in 1970, relying on O'Callahan, seeking to compel the Secretary of the Navy to overturn his court-martial conviction for auto theft and to correct his military records with respect to his dishonorable discharge. The District Court held that the car theft was not service connected in the O'Callahan sense and that O'Callahan was to be applied retroactively. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: The judgment in No. 71-6314 is affirmed, and the judgment in No. 71-1398 is reversed. Pp. 413 U. S. 672-693.

Page 413 U. S. 666

No. 71-6314, 450 F.2d 753, affirmed; No. 71-1398, 458 F.2d 544, reversed.


1. The question in O'Callahan was the appropriateness of the exercise of jurisdiction by a military forum, pursuant to an Act of Congress, over a nonservice-connected offense when balanced against the guarantees of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. Pp. 413 U. S. 672-678.

2. Application of the three-pronged test of Stovall v. Denno, supra,

"(a) the purpose to be served by the new standards, (b) the extent of the reliance by law enforcement authorities on the old standards, and (c) the effect on the administration of justice of a retroactive application of the new standards,"

requires that O'Callahan be accorded prospective effect only. Pp. 413 U. S. 678-685.

3. Respondent's claim in No. 71-1398 that he was deprived of the right to trial in the vicinage, as guaranteed by Art. III, § 2, cl. 3, not raised before the military court, lacks merit. General court-martial jurisdiction, derived from Art. I, is not restricted territorially to a particular State or district; the vicinage requirement has primary relevance to trial by jury; and respondent has not demonstrated prejudice. Pp. 413 U. S. 685-686.

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS concluded, in No. 71-6314, that the case should be reargued on the question whether the "jurisdiction" of the military tribunal, not having been initially contested, had become res judicata; and in No. 71-1398, that respondent committed a "service-connected" crime. Pp. 413 U. S. 686-691.

MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST concluded, in No. 71-6314, that, although the prior Court decisions do not support the holding that O'Callahan should not be applied retroactively, O'Callahan was wrongly decided, and should be overruled, and, in No. 71-1398, that any crime committed by a serviceman during the time of declared war is "service-connected," and that he can be validly tried by court-martial for that offense. P. 413 U. S. 692.

MR. JUSTICE STEWART concluded, in No. 71-1398, that respondent, a serviceman who deserted his post during a time of congressionally declared war and stole an automobile was guilty of a "service-connected" offense and was properly tried before a court-martial under O'Callahan. P. 413 U. S. 693.

Page 413 U. S. 667

BLACKMUN, J., announced the Court's judgments and delivered an opinion, in which BURGER, C.J.,and WHITE and POWELL, JJ., joined. REHNQUIST, J., filed an opinion concurring the judgments, post, p. 413 U. S. 692. DOUGLAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the result in part in No. 71-6314, and concurring in the result in No. 71-1398, post, p. 413 U. S. 686. STEWART, J., filed an opinion concurring in the result in No. 71-1398, in which DOUGLAS, J., joined, and dissenting in No. 71-6314, post, p. 413 U. S. 693. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN, J., joined, and in which STEWART. J., joined as it applies to No. 71-6314, post, p. 413 U. S. 693.

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