• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court upheld the right of those convicted of state offenses to use habeas corpus petitions in federal courts, notwithstanding minor time limitations in state law.

Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.,Brennan, William J., Jr.;Fay v. Noia[Fay v. Noia] wrote for the 6-3 majority, upholding the right of state prisoners to use habeas corpus petitions in federal courts even if they have failed to comply strictly with state statute-of-limitation provisions. Basically, the Supreme Court abandoned its earlier ruling that the exhaustion of state remedies had to include a petition to be heard by the Court (certiorari). Because so few certiorari petitions are granted and the process is so time-consuming, it is a burdensome requirement. In this case, defendant Noia had been convicted of murder with the use of a coerced confession in a state court despite the Court’s prior prohibition on the use of coerced confessions. The state admitted this and relied solely on Noia’s failure to file a timely appeal from the state appellate court, a technicality that the Court did not find compelling under the circumstances, although it did satisfy the dissenting justices: Tom C. Clark, John M. Harlan II, and Potter Stewart.Due process, procedural;Fay v. Noia[Fay v. Noia]

Certiorari, writ of


Habeas corpus

Categories: History