The recent cases of Avery v. Alabama and Chambers v. Florida raise the interesting question of the conclusiveness of a fact finding of a state court upon the United States Supreme Court in a criminal trial when the accused claims that one of his constitutional rights has been impaired, and the holding of the state court is to the effect that on the facts presented such right has not been impaired. The case may arise in the United States Supreme Court in either of two ways. It may come up on appeal from a lower federal court denying a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, as in Moore v. Dempsey. Or it may arise under a writ of certiorari to the state court. Certiorari is the most common method, but even if habeas corpus is used, the Supreme Court does not feel itself bound by res judicata, this being stated in Justice Holmes' dissenting opinion to Frank v. Mangum.
The Supreme Court has not seemed inclined to state a basis for its action in reaching a different conclusion upon a given state of facts from that reached by the state court. The scope of this comment is to attempt to determine: (1) the basis of federal interference with the findings of fact of the state court; (2) which portion of that fact picture interests the federal Court; (3) in what situations the federal Court will review the findings of fact made by the state courts; and (4) to what extent the federal Court will substitute its own inferences of fact for those of the state court.
John S. Pennell,
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE-FEDERAL COURTS - SUBSTITUTION BY SUPREME COURT OF ITS INFERENCES OF FACT FOR THOSE OF THE STATE COURT,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol38/iss6/5