HENRY V. MISSISSIPPI, 379 U. S. 443 (1965)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Henry v. Mississippi, 379 U.S. 443 (1965)

Henry v. Mississippi

No. 6

Argued October 13, 1964

Decided January 18, 1965

379 U.S. 443


The Mississippi Supreme Court, reviewing petitioner's appeal from a conviction for disturbing the peace, first filed an opinion which reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial. The court held that petitioner's wife's consent to a search of his automobile did not waive his rights and, in the belief that petitioner had out-of-state counsel unfamiliar with local practice, reversed in spite of petitioner's failure to comply with the state requirement of contemporaneous objection to the introduction of illegal evidence. The court noted that petitioner moved for a directed verdict at the close of the State's case, assigning as one ground the use of the illegal evidence. After the State filed a Suggestion of Error, pointing out that petitioner was represented by local as well as out-of-state counsel, the court substituted another opinion, affirming the conviction and holding that mistakes of counsel, even if honest, are binding on the client.

Held: the question whether the nonfederal procedural ground (the contemporaneous objection requirement) is adequate to bar review -- that is, whether its imposition in this case serves a legitimate state interest -- is not decided, for the record indicates, but is insufficient to establish, that petitioner, personally or through counsel, may have knowingly forgone his opportunity to raise his federal claims. Fay v. Noia, 372 U. S. 391, 372 U. S. 439. The interests of sound judicial administration call for a remand to permit the State to establish whether or not there was a waiver. This may avoid the necessity for a decision by this Court on the adequacy of the state procedural ground, and it permits the State to determine the waiver question, which would otherwise be open on federal habeas corpus, even if the state ground were adequate. Pp. 379 U. S. 449-453.

154 So.2d 289 reversed and remanded. chanrobles.com-red

Page 379 U. S. 444