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WALKER V. WAINWRIGHT, 390 U. S. 335 (1968)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Walker v. Wainwright, 390 U.S. 335 (1968)

Walker v. Wainwright

No. 786, Misc.

Decided March 11, 1968

390 U.S. 335


Petitioner, under life sentence for murder, was later sentenced to five years for assault, to commence when he had completed the murder sentence. Petitioner challenged the murder conviction on constitutional grounds, but the District Court denied a writ of habeas corpus on the sole ground that, in view of the sentence for assault, a favorable decision would not result in the petitioner's immediate release from prison, and that the court was therefore powerless to consider his claims. The Court of Appeals rejected his application for a certificate of probable cause.

Held: Whatever its other functions, the writ of habeas corpus is available to test the legality of a prisoner's current detention, and it is immaterial that another prison term might await him if he should establish the unconstitutionality of his present imprisonment.

Certiorari granted; reversed and remanded.

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