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MAXWELL v. BISHOP

decided: June 1, 1970.

MAXWELL
v.
BISHOP, PENITENTIARY SUPERINTENDENT



CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 398 U.S. Page 263]

 In 1962 the petitioner was found guilty of rape by an Arkansas jury without a verdict of life imprisonment, and the trial court imposed a sentence of death.*fn1 The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of conviction. 236 Ark. 694, 370 S. W. 2d 113. The petitioner then sought a writ of habeas corpus in the United

[ 398 U.S. Page 264]

     States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, claiming, among other things, that his conviction and punishment were unconstitutional in that (1) the jury had determined the two issues of guilt or innocence and of a life or death sentence in a single proceeding, thereby precluding him from presenting evidence pertinent to the question of penalty without subjecting himself to self-incrimination on the issue of guilt; and (2) the jury had been given no standards or directions of any kind to guide it in deciding whether to impose a sentence of life imprisonment or death. The District Court denied the writ, 257 F.Supp. 710, and the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed, 398 F.2d 138. We granted certiorari limited to the two questions noted above. 393 U.S. 997.

The petitioner's trial took place long before this Court's decision in Witherspoon v. Illinois, 391 U.S. 510. The trial transcript makes evident that several prospective jurors were removed from the panel upon grounds held impermissible in the Witherspoon case. One prospective juror, for example, was successfully challenged for cause solely on the basis of the following exchange:

"Q. If you were convinced beyond a reasonable doubt at the end of this trial that the defendant was guilty and that his actions had been so shocking that they would merit the death penalty do you have any conscientious scruples about capital punishment that might prevent you from returning such a verdict?

"A. I think I do." (Emphasis supplied.)

Another venireman was removed from the jury panel on the basis of the following question and answer:

"Q. Do you entertain any conscientious scruples about imposing the death penalty?

"A. Yes, I am afraid I do."

[ 398 U.S. Page 265]

     Still another member of the panel was dismissed after the following colloquy:

"Q. Mr. Adams, do you have any feeling concerning capital punishment that would prevent you or make you have any feelings about returning a death sentence if you felt beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty and ...


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