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U.S. Supreme Court

Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484 (1973)

Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky

No. 71-6516

Argued December 5, 1972

Decided February 28, 1973

410 U.S. 484


Petitioner, imprisoned in Alabama, applied to the District Court for the Western District of Kentucky for a writ of federal habeas corpus to compel the Commonwealth of Kentucky to grant him a speedy trial on an indictment returned by the grand jury of respondent court regarding which Kentucky had lodged a detainer with Alabama. The District Court granted the writ, but the Court of Appeals reversed on the ground that 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a), which provides that "[w]rits of habeas corpus may be granted by the . . . district courts . . . within their respective jurisdictions" precluded granting the writ to a prisoner who was not physically present within the territorial limits of the district court.


1. Under Peyton v. Rowe, 391 U. S. 54, which discarded the "prematurity doctrine" of McNally v. Hill, 293 U. S. 131, the petitioner was "in custody" within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3) for purposes of a habeas corpus attack on the Kentucky indictment underlying the detainer, even though he was confined in an Alabama prison. Pp. 410 U. S. 488-489.

2. The exhaustion doctrine of Ex parte Royall, 117 U. S. 241, does not bar a petition for federal habeas corpus alleging, under Smith v. Hooey, 393 U. S. 374, a constitutional claim of present denial of a speedy trial, even though the petitioner has not yet been brought to trial on the state charge. The petitioner must, however, have exhausted available state court remedies for consideration of that constitutional claim. Pp. 410 U. S. 489-493.

3. The jurisdiction of a district court considering a habeas corpus petition requires only that the court issuing the writ have jurisdiction over the custodian of the prisoner. Pp. 410 U. S. 494-495.

4. Ahrens v. Clark, 335 U. S. 188, on which respondent relies, can no longer be viewed as requiring that habeas corpus petitions be brought only in the district of the petitioner's confinement. Here, since respondent was properly served with process in the Western District of Kentucky, the Court of Appeals erred in concluding chanrobles.com-red

Page 410 U. S. 485

that the District Court should have dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction. Pp. 410 U. S. 495-501.

454 F.2d 145, reversed and remanded.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which DOUGLAS, STEWART, WHITE, and MARSHALL, JJ., joined. BLACKMUN, J., filed an opinion concurring in the result, post, p. 410 U. S. 501. REHNQUIST, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BURGER, C.J.,and POWELL, J., joined, post, p. 410 U. S. 502.


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