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PATERNO V. LYONS, 334 U. S. 314 (1948)

U.S. Supreme Court

Paterno v. Lyons, 334 U.S. 314 (1948)

Paterno v. Lyons

No. 583

Argued April 28, 1948

Decided June 1, 1948

334 U.S. 314


Indicted in a New York state court for receiving stolen property, petitioner was permitted to plead guilty to attempted grand larceny second degree, a lesser offense not charged in the indictment. He failed to avail himself, within the time prescribed, of state law remedies for challenging the validity of the conviction under state law. Later, he was convicted for another offense and sentenced as a second offender. Thereafter, he attacked the validity of the first conviction under state and federal law. Upon review here of a judgment denying relief, held:

1. The decision of the highest court of the State that acceptance of the plea of guilty to the lesser offense did not deprive petitioner of his right under the state constitution to be prosecuted for an infamous crime only upon a grand jury indictment was binding here. Pp. 334 U. S. 318-319.

2. The remedies provided by state law for challenging the validity of the conviction under state law (viz., motion to withdraw plea of guilty, motion in arrest of judgment, or direct appeal) were adequate from the standpoint of the due process of law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, at least in the absence of any showing that petitioner was without opportunity effectively to take advantage of such remedies. P. 334 U. S. 319.

3. In view of the relationship of the two offenses under the state statutes, the indictment charging only receiving stolen property afforded petitioner reasonable notice and information of the lesser offense to which he pleaded guilty, and he was not in this respect denied due process of law. Pp. 334 U. S. 319-322.

297 N.Y. 617, 75 N.E.2d 630, affirmed.

Page 334 U. S. 315

A county court of New York adjudged invalid a conviction of petitioner upon a plea of guilty in a criminal prosecution, 187 Misc. 56, 60 N.Y.S.2d 813, but was prevented from vacating the judgment by a writ of prohibition issued upon the application of the State. 272 App.Div. 120, 69 N.Y.S. 715. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 297 N.Y. 617, 75 N.E.2d 630. This Court granted certiorari. 333 U.S. 831. Affirmed, p. 334 U. S. 322.

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