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PICARD V. CONNOR, 404 U. S. 270 (1971)

U.S. Supreme Court

Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270 (1971)

Picard v. Connor

No. 70-96

Argued November 17, 1971

Decided December 20, 1971

404 U.S. 270


A grand jury returned a murder indictment against a named individual "and John Doe, the true name and a more particular description of the said John Doe being to the said Jurors unknown." After respondent's arrest the indictment was amended pursuant to state law to substitute respondent's name for "John Doe." The highest state court affirmed respondent's subsequent conviction, rejecting his challenge to the legality of the indictment made on the ground that the amending procedure did not comply with the statute. Respondent subsequently filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the District Court, which dismissed the petition. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the procedure by which respondent was brought to trial was violative of equal protection. The court rejected petitioner's contention that respondent, who had not previously raised the equal protection issue, had not exhausted available state judicial remedies as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2254, holding that respondent had presented the state court with "an opportunity to apply controlling legal principles to the facts bearing upon [his] constitutional claim."

Held: The substance of a federal habeas corpus claim must in the first instance be fairly presented to the state courts, and since, on the record and argument before it, the State's highest court had no fair opportunity to consider and act upon the equal protection claim, the Court of Appeals erred in holding that respondent had exhausted his state remedies. Pp. 404 U. S. 275-278.

434 F.2d 673, reversed and remanded.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 404 U. S. 278.

Page 404 U. S. 271

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