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HYSLER V. FLORIDA, 315 U. S. 411 (1942)

U.S. Supreme Court

Hysler v. Florida, 315 U.S. 411 (1942)

Hysler v. Florida

No. 64

Argued December 12, 1941

Decided March 2, 1942

315 U.S. 411


1. The procedure adopted by Florida, whereby a person under sentence of imprisonment or death, who claims that his conviction resulted from some fundamental unfairness amounting to a denial of due process of law, may apply to the Supreme Court of the State, even though that court has affirmed his conviction, for permission to apply to the trial court for a writ of error coram nobis, and who thus is afforded a full opportunity to have a jury pass upon his claim, provided that he first make an adequate showing of its substantiality, is a procedure which meets the requirements of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 315 U. S. 415.

According to decisions of the Supreme Court of Florida defining this procedure, a naked allegation that a constitutional right has been invaded is not sufficient; a petitioner must make a full disclosure of the specific facts relied on, not merely his conclusions as to the nature and effect of such facts; the proof must enable the appellate court to

"ascertain whether, under settled principles pertaining to such writ, the facts alleged would afford at least prima facie just ground for an application to the lower court for a writ of error coram nobis;"

and, in the exercise of its discretion in matters of this sort, the court should look to the

Page 315 U. S. 412

reasonableness of the allegations of the petition and to the probability of their truth.

2. A person who, with others, had been convicted of murder in Florida, and whose sentence of death had been affirmed by the Supreme Court of the State, petitioned that court for leave to apply to the trial court for a writ of error coram nobis, claiming that his conviction had been secured by means of false testimony delivered at the trial by an accomplice who was coerced thereto by state officials and who, four year later, on the eve of his own electrocution for participation in the same crime, had made affidavits exonerating the petitioner. The Supreme Court of Florida, on the basis of the petition and accompanying affidavits and the record of prior cases arising out of the same clime, concluded that the petitioner had failed to make the showing of substantiality which according to the local procedure was necessary in order to obtain the extraordinary relief furnished by the writ of error coram nobis, and this Court, upon an independent examination of the affidavits on which the claim was based, has no doubt that the finding of insubstantiality was justified. P. 315 U. S. 421.

146 Fla 593, 1 So.2d 628, affirmed.

Certiorari, 313 U.S. 557, to review a judgment denying a petition for leave to apply to a trial court for a writ of error coram nobis in a case of murder.

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