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AIKENS V. CALIFORNIA, 406 U. S. 813 (1972)

U.S. Supreme Court

Aikens v. California, 406 U.S. 813 (1972)

Aikens v. California

No. 68-5027

Argued January 17, 1972

Decided June 7, 1972

406 U.S. 813



California Supreme Court decision invalidating death penalty under state constitution has mooted this case, where certiorari was granted to consider whether death penalty comports with Federal Constitution.

70 Cal.2d 369, 450 P.2d 258, certiorari dismissed.

Page 406 U. S. 814


Petitioner in this case, which has been orally argued and is now sub judice, has filed a Suggestion of Mootness and Motion for Remand based on the intervening decision of the California Supreme Court in People v. Anderson, 6 Cal.3d 628, 493 P.2d 880 (1972). That decision declared capital punishment in California unconstitutional under Art. 1, § 6, of the state constitution. The decision rested on an adequate state ground, and the State's petition for writ of certiorari was denied. 406 U. S. 98. The California Supreme Court declared in the Anderson case that its decision was fully retroactive, and stated that any prisoner currently under sentence of death could petition a superior court to modify its judgment. Petitioner thus no longer faces a realistic threat of execution, and the issue on which certiorari was granted -- the constitutionality of the death penalty under the Federal Constitution -- is now moot in his case. Accordingly, the writ of certiorari is dismissed.

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