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LANE V. BROWN, 372 U. S. 477 (1963)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Lane v. Brown, 372 U.S. 477 (1963)

Lane v. Brown

No. 83

Argued January 16-17, 1963

Decided March 18, 1963

372 U.S. 477


In an Indiana State Court, respondent was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. After an unsuccessful appeal, he filed in the Trial Court a petition for writ of error coram nobis. After a hearing, at which respondent was represented by the Public Defender, that Court denied relief. Respondent requested the Public Defender to represent him in perfecting an appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court, but the Public Defender refused because he believed that an appeal would be unsuccessful. Respondent next applied to the Trial Court for a transcript of the coram nobis hearing and the appointment of counsel to perfect an appeal, but this was denied. The Supreme Court of Indiana refused to order the Trial Court to grant petitioner's request for a transcript and appointment of counsel, on the ground that, under Indiana law, an appeal from denial of a writ of error coram nobis can be perfected only by filing in the State Supreme Court a transcript of the hearing, and such transcript can be obtained for an indigent only by the Public Defender. Respondent applied to a Federal District Court for a writ of habeas corpus.

Held: Indiana has deprived respondent of a right secured by the Fourteenth Amendment by refusing him appellate review of the denial of writ of error coram nobis solely because of his poverty. Pp. 372 U. S. 477-485.

302 F.2d 537, judgment vacated and cause remanded.

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