The opinion of the court was delivered by: Will, District Judge.
The Court has considered petitioner Henry Staples' petition in
forma pauperis for a writ of habeas corpus and the first
supplement thereto; the memorandum on his behalf filed May 10,
1963; the brief filed July 2, 1963; a supplemental letter filed
July 9, 1963; respondent's answer to the petition and supplement,
motion to dismiss, and memorandum filed June 28, 1963; the
transcript of proceedings in the post-conviction hearing held in
the Circuit Court of St. Clair County on February 10, 1956, in
the matter of Staples v. Illinois; and the Illinois Supreme
Court's unreported affirmance thereof dated May 23, 1958 (No.
1978), cert. denied, 358 U.S. 851, 79 S.Ct. 78, 3 L.Ed. 2d 84
(1958). In addition, the Court has heard and considered testimony
presented at a hearing in this matter held on June 21, 1963, and
has examined the exhibits there tendered. On the basis of this
consideration and examination, the Court hereby makes the
following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
1. During the evening of October 11, 1942, at East St. Louis,
Illinois, petitioner's wife was struck repeatedly with an ax; she
died soon thereafter.
2. Petitioner was arrested early the following morning but
denied any participation in the homicide.
3. While in custody in a police squad car, petitioner verbally
agreed to a search of his home by police officers and accompanied
the officers to his home where, with an officer standing on each
side of him, he unlocked the door and they entered. The search
resulted in the discovery of an ax, a shirt and a pair of pants,
all bloodstained, and all of which were seized by the police.
4. Initially, petitioner maintained that the blood was that of
a hog he had recently butchered. However, after further
questioning, unaccompanied by physical coercion or threats, he
admitted having killed his wife, and he signed a written
5. Petitioner was not taken before a magistrate until sometime
on the following day, October 13, 1942.
6. On December 18, 1942, petitioner was indicted for murder by
the Grand Jury for St. Clair County, Illinois. A few days later,
he was arraigned in the Circuit Court of St. Clair County where
he pleaded not guilty.
7. On January 13, 1943, while represented by privately employed
counsel, Mr. Noah W. Parden, petitioner withdrew his plea of not
guilty and entered a plea of guilty to murder.
8. The presiding judge, Morris B. Joyce, admonished petitioner
as to the consequences of this plea, but he persisted therein.
Judge Joyce received the plea, held a short hearing on the facts
— at which petitioner, among others, testified — and sentenced
him to 99 years imprisonment which term he is presently serving
at the Illinois State Penitentiary, Joliet.
9. Petitioner has made repeated efforts to obtain a copy of the
transcript of the above-described proceedings before Judge Joyce,
the first attempt being by a letter dated November 4, 1947. He
has never been successful and no such transcript presently
10. On February 10, 1956, petitioner's case was the subject of
a post-conviction hearing held in the Circuit Court of St. Clair
County before Judge Quinten Spivey.
11. Petitioner was represented therein by court-appointed
counsel, Mr. William R. Hotto, and petitioner alone testified in
his own behalf.