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UNITED STATES EX REL. CHAPMAN v. SUPREME COURT OF

May 9, 1957

UNITED STATES of America ex rel. George H. CHAPMAN
v.
SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA and Angelo Cavell, Warden, Western State Penitentiary



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY

Petitioner, who contends he has been denied his rights under the Constitution of the United States, requests that a writ of mandamus issue against the Potter County Court, and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The law is well settled that a judge of the United States District Court is without authority to issue a writ of mandamus against state officers in the exercise of their discretionary duties.

It is my judgment, therefore, that petitioner must proceed by way of petition for habeas corpus and the respondent must be the head of the penal institution where petitioner is incarcerated.

 The formal requirements in a petition for writ of habeas corpus are as follows:

 1. The petition be in writing addressed to the court authorized to issue the writ.

 2. It should set forth the place of petitioner's confinement, and the name and address of the person in whose custody the prisoner is restrained.

 3 It must allege that the petitioner is unlawfully restrained of his liberty and show precisely the alleged illegality of restraint, by stating the pertinent facts in such a manner as to make possible an intelligent judgment upon the question.

 4. It should state by what authority the respondent purports to detain the petitioner.

 5. If the petitioner does not know by what authority he is being detained, he should so state.

 6. It must be set forth whether sentence was imposed on judgment of conviction after trial by jury, or if sentence was imposed after the entry of a plea of guilty, or plea of nolo contendere.

 7. If petitioner is in custody pursuant to a judgment of a State court, it must be set forth what procedure was followed, if any, to have the judgment of conviction or plea of guilty reviewed by the appellate courts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of the United States, and the disposition of said appeals or writ of certiorari must be given.

 8. If the petitioner is confined by virtue of a judgment of a State court, it is necessary to set forth copies of any petitions for writ of habeas corpus which have been previously filed in the State courts or Federal courts, the determination made by the court, and whether or not a denial was made of said petition or petitions previously filed or appealed to the higher tribunals in the state, and if application had been made to the Supreme Court of the United States by appeal or writ of certiorari from said refusal.

 9. If the petitioner has not exhausted all remedies available in the appellate courts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the reasons therefor must be set forth in detail and an allegation that the trial court and the appellate courts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania so departed from rights given under the Constitution of the United States, which would justify a federal court's intervention to protect the constitutional rights of the petitioner.

 10. All petitions for writ of habeas corpus must be executed and verified by the petitioner. If for any reason the petitioner is unable to execute and verify the ...


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