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MURCH V. MOTTRAM, 409 U. S. 41 (1972)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Murch v. Mottram, 409 U.S. 41 (1972)

Murch v. Mottram

No. 72-55

Decided November 6, 1972

409 U.S. 41


In a 1965 proceeding, respondent substituted for his original attack on the constitutional validity of his underlying convictions a petition challenging only the constitutionality of procedures attending revocation of his parole, notwithstanding advice that, under the judge's construction of Maine's statute governing post-conviction relief, a prisoner is deemed to waive constitutional grounds not asserted, and that both the petition and the previous attack came within the statute. Respondent's 1965 challenge was not successful, and, in 1967, he filed another petition for state post-conviction relief, collaterally attacking the validity of the previous convictions. Following an adverse ruling by the State's highest court, respondent sought relief in the District Court, which ruled against him on the ground that, in the 1965 proceeding, he had bypassed the state statutory procedures. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that respondent had not waived his right to raise the constitutional issues.

Held: Maine could properly provide that a prisoner seeking post-conviction relief must assert all known constitutional claims in a single proceeding, and a state prisoner may not "elect" not to comply with a state court's interpretation of the statute and claim, as respondent (who had received fair warning) did here, that he did not have the subjective intent to waive his constitutional claims.

Certiorari granted; 458 F.2d 626, reversed.

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