further questioning of petitioner, his continued denial of
participation, his admission of the murder and signing of a
confession without the imposition of any physical coercion, and,
finally, his being taken before a magistrate.
Conclusions of Law
1. This Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate this petition for
a writ of habeas corpus. 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and 2243.
2. Due process of law has not been denied to an individual who
pleads guilty while represented by counsel of his own choosing
and after having been duly admonished.
3. Due process of law has not been denied to such an individual
who, commencing more than four years after his plea, repeatedly
attempts to secure a copy of the transcript of that plea but who
is unsuccessful in each attempt because no copy can be found.
4. A writ of habeas corpus may not be granted to one who, while
represented by counsel of his own choosing and after having been
duly admonished, pleads guilty even though prior thereto he was
the victim of (1) an unconstitutional search and seizure and (2)
an unreasonable delay in being taken before a magistrate, and
even though at least in part as a result thereof, he was induced
to confess to the crime.
5. Petitioner has not demonstrated that he is in custody in
violation of the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United
In May, 1962, petitioner, Henry H. Staples, filed in this Court
his petition in forma pauperis for a writ of habeas corpus.
Thereafter, the Court appointed Mr. Thomas Sullivan of the
Illinois Bar to represent petitioner here. Mr. Sullivan has done
so with skill and diligence for which the Court expresses its
Many of the events forming the background of this litigation
occurred more than 20 years ago. Several persons who were
involved are no longer living; others, although perhaps alive,
have not been located. Time has dimmed the memories of those who
are alive and have been found. No transcript presently exists of
certain courtroom proceedings which took place in January, 1943,
which petitioner charges, and respondent denies, were conducted
unconstitutionally. But despite these obstacles, as a result of
the research and presentation by each party herein, it seems
reasonably clear that the chronology which appears in the
findings of fact accurately describes the history of this
The proceedings in this Court constitute but the most recent of
petitioner's efforts to obtain judicial review of his conviction
in 1943. His many attempts to obtain a trial transcript — the
first was by a letter dated November 4, 1947 (Petitioner's
Memorandum filed May 10, 1963, Exhibit B; see also Exhibits C, D
and E) — have all proved fruitless primarily because no
transcript has ever been found. However, he was accorded a
post-conviction hearing in 1956 by the Circuit Court of St. Clair
County at which he alone testified in his own behalf and several
witnesses testified for the State. That court held for the State
and the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. People v. Staples, No.
1978, Ill.Sup.Ct., May 23, 1958, cert. denied, 358 U.S. 851, 79
S.Ct. 78, 3 L.Ed.2d 84 (1958).
On June 21, 1963, following consideration of the many documents
submitted by both petitioner and respondent, this Court held a
hearing. Petitioner was present, but he elected not to testify.
Moreover, he offered no evidence in support of his contentions
that a confession had been obtained from him by means of physical
duress, that he had received an unfair trial, that he had not
knowingly pleaded guilty, and that he had demanded and been
denied a jury trial, a trial delay, and a change of counsel. The
uncontroverted testimony was that petitioner confessed without
having been subjected to physical coercion and that he pleaded
guilty after admonishment. Some of the evidence presented in this
Court does bear on petitioner's allegations that (1)
he was not brought before a magistrate within a reasonable period
of time;*fn1 (2) his "consent" to the search of his home, coming
at a time when he was in police custody, was not truly
consensual;*fn2 and (3) his confession was the result of his
being interrogated during the period of unreasonable delay and
his being confronted with property seized without a warrant in an
unconstitutional search. Before reaching these contentions, a
preliminary matter will be discussed.
Petitioner charges that he has been denied due process of law
because he has been unable to obtain a stenographic transcript of
the relevant 1943 proceeding. No such transcript presently
exists, and therefore some practical accommodation must be made.
Cf. Norvell v. Illinois, 373 U.S. 420, 424, 83 S.Ct. 1366, 10
L.Ed.2d 456 (1963).
Petitioner had ample opportunity, both before the Circuit Court
of St. Clair County in 1956 and here, to present evidence that
Judge Joyce conducted other than a fair and orderly proceeding.
Apart from his own testimony at the 1956 hearing, petitioner has
offered no such evidence. On the other hand, a considerable
amount of testimony has been presented which demonstrates that
Judge Joyce adequately protected petitioner's constitutional
rights, that petitioner was represented by competent counsel of
his own choice and was duly admonished, and that thereafter he
pleaded guilty. Due process of law has not been denied to such an
individual who, commencing more than four years after entering
his plea, repeatedly attempts to secure a copy of the transcript
of that plea but who, each time, is unsuccessful because no copy
can be found. Norvell v. Illinois, supra.
More serious is petitioner's contention that his constitutional
rights were violated by reason of (a) the delay in taking him
before a magistrate, (b) the non-consensual search and seizure,
and (c) the confession resulting therefrom. Petitioner contends
that, but for the unreasonable delay and unconstitutional search
and seizure, he would never have confessed, and if he had not
confessed (or if he had realized that the confession and seized
property were inadmissible in evidence against him) he would not
have pleaded guilty. He does not, however, here dispute that he
pleaded guilty while represented by competent counsel of his own
choice and after having been admonished as to the consequences of
Despite the seriousness of the alleged constitutional
violations, the rule in this Circuit*fn3 and elsewere*fn4 is
that a guilty plea constitutes a waiver of any
constitutional or other defects in the proceeding except those
relating to the jurisdiction of the court. Accordingly, a writ of
habeas corpus must be denied. I am constrained, at the same time,
however, to comment briefly on the implications of the plea of
guilty-waiver doctrine as reflected in the instant case.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which,
it is clear, in the light of the decisions cited earlier,*fn5
was here violated, is intended to protect citizens in the privacy
of their persons, their property and their homes. Cf. Mapp v.
Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 656-657, 660, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081
(1961) (dicta). It is intended to protect the guilty as well as
the innocent. McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451, 453, 69
S.Ct. 191, 93 L.Ed. 153 (1948) (dictum). Protection of an
occasional guilty person from conviction by evidence obtained in
violation of the Fourth Amendment is an inevitable price which we
pay so that all of us may be secure from harassment by unlawful
searches and seizures.
The decisions which deny to one who pleads guilty the
opportunity thereafter to challenge a constitutional violation
seem to me to weaken that security from harassment, for they
encourage police officers to invade privacy and conduct
interrogations in the hope of obtaining incriminating evidence,
confessions and, ultimately, guilty pleas. If the constitutional
defect is not discovered until after judgment, they (police and
prosecution) have successfully deprived a defendant of his
constitutional rights. Such a doctrine certainly does not
discourage violations of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.
Although petitioner undoubtedly did enter a plea of guilty and
the tainted evidence was never in fact used in a trial against
him, he must necessarily have been influenced in so pleading by
the knowledge that the prosecution possessed the incriminating
evidence and his confession obtained by confronting him with that
evidence. Furthermore, while we have no way of knowing what
considerations went through the minds of petitioner and his
counsel, it is reasonable to assume that the plea of guilty was
induced at least in part because petitioner, who was charged with
a capital offense, hoped for some leniency in the sentence to be
To conclude, then, that the guilty plea constituted an
intentional waiver of petitioner's objections to any
constitutional violations which had occurred, just as though the
tainted evidence and confession had been introduced at a trial
and no objection had been raised thereto, seems to me to read
more into the plea than is warranted by any reasonable inference
from the facts. Certainly no evidence in this record suggests
that petitioner did in fact so intend. The plea of guilty-waiver
doctrine not only whitewashes constitutional violations but in
addition, as applied to the facts of the instant case, results in
a conclusion unsupported either by evidence or by logic.
There remains the question, with respect to the
unconstitutional search and seizure, whether all state remedies
have been exhausted. 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Although the search and
seizure issue has never been presented to the courts of the State
of Illinois as a ground for granting the relief petitioner here
makes no contention that such an opportunity is presently
available. Cf. Fay v. Noia, 372 U.S. 391, 435, 83 S.Ct. 822, 9
L.Ed.2d 837 (1963). In view of the facts that (a) petitioner
never did appeal his conviction, (b) he has already been granted
a post-conviction hearing and an Illinois Supreme Court review
thereof, and (c) the sentencing court is not alleged to have
lacked jurisdiction over his person or the subject matter, it
appears that no state remedy is now open.
Under the applicable decisions, petitioner has not demonstrated
that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution, laws or
treaties of the United States because his guilty plea is deemed
to waive the constitutional or other defects in the proceedings.
Accordingly, the petition must be denied, and the cause is hereby