MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.
The appellants were convicted of violating a North Carolina criminal trespass statute,
There is no dispute as to the basic circumstances which led to the prosecution and ultimate conviction of the appellants. In December, 1955, Gillespie Park Golf Club, Inc., operated an 18-hole golf course on land which it leased from the City of Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Board of Trustees of the Greensboro City Administrative Unit. The bylaws of the lessee limited the use of the golf course to its "members" and persons in certain other specifically restricted categories.
The appellants were tried and convicted of violating the state criminal trespass statute. Pending their appeal to the Supreme Court of North Carolina they and others commenced an action against the City of Greensboro, the Greensboro Board of Education, and the Gillespie Park Golf Club, Inc., in the Federal District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, asking for a declaratory judgment and an injunction forbidding the defendants from operating the golf course on a racially discriminatory basis. The federal court granted the injunction. Simkins v. City of Greensboro, 149 F.Supp. 562. Its judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth circuit on June 28, 1957. City of Greensboro v. Simkins, 246 F.2d 425. On the same date the Supreme Court of North Carolina, acting on the appeal from the criminal convictions in the state court, held that there had been a fatal variance in amendments to the warrants under which the appellants had been tried, and arrested
The appellants were again tried de novo in the Superior Court of Guilford County, North Carolina, for violating the state criminal trespass statute. At the outset they made a motion to quash, which was denied. The State presented evidence as to what had happened on the golf course on December 7, 1955. At the conclusion of the evidence the trial judge instructed the jury explicitly and at length that the defendants could not be convicted if they had been excluded from the golf course because of their race. Specifically, the trial judge charged the jury that ". . . the law would not permit the City and, therefore, would not permit its lessee, the Gillespie Park Golf Club, Inc., to discriminate against any citizen of Greensboro in the maintenance and operation and use of a golf course. It could not exclude either defendant because of his race or for any other reason applicable to them alone; that is to say, they were entitled to the same rights to use the golf course as any other citizen of Greensboro would be provided they complied with the reasonable rules and regulations for the operation and maintenance and use of the golf course. They would not be required to comply with any unreasonable rules and regulations for the operation and maintenance and use of the golf course."
The North Carolina court did not decide, however, whether it was bound under the Constitution to give to the federal court's unpublished findings and judgment in the prior civil action the conclusive effect urged by the appellants in the present criminal case, because it held that as a matter of state law the findings and judgment were not before it.
The Supreme Court of North Carolina stated in its opinion of affirmance that the "defendants for reasons best known to themselves elected not to offer in evidence the record in the Federal court case." 248 N. C., at 493, 103 S. E. 2d, at 852. This statement is borne out by the record before that court,
The difficulty with this argument, beyond the fact that the appellants apparently did not ask the North Carolina court to go outside the record for this purpose, is that that court has consistently and repeatedly held in criminal cases that it will not make independent inquiry to determine the accuracy of the record before it.
Thus in the Robinson case the court reversed a criminal conviction for insufficiency of the evidence, although noting that:
In State v. Wolfe the court reversed a criminal conviction on the ground of error in the trial court's instructions to the jury, although pointing out that:
In the Gause case the court also reversed a conviction upon the ground of error in the charge, although noting that:
In the Stiwinter case, involving a similar issue, the court said:
The Dee case involved similar issues. There the court noted:
It is thus apparent that the present case is not of a pattern with Williams v. Georgia, supra. Even if the North Carolina Supreme Court has power to make independent inquiry as to evidence proffered in the trial court but not included in the case on appeal, its decisions make clear that it has without exception refused to do so.
The appellants contend additionally that they brought the federal court's findings and judgment in the Simkins case before the state courts in two other ways: (a) by their motion to quash at the outset of the trial, and (b) by their motion to set aside the verdict at the trial's conclusion. The motion to quash set out the existence and alleged effect of the federal court proceedings, and requested leave to offer in evidence in support of the motion "the full record and judgment roll in said case." The motion to set aside the verdict incorporated by reference the motion to quash and also contained an independent summary of the federal court proceedings, requesting the court to take judicial notice of the same. Both motions were denied by the trial court without opinion.
As to the motion to quash, the Supreme Court of North Carolina sustained the trial court's ruling on the ground that the " `court, in ruling on the motion, is not permitted to consider extraneous evidence. Therefore, when the defect must be established by evidence aliunde the record, the motion must be denied.' " 248 N. C., at 489, 103 S. E. 2d, at 849. In upholding the denial of the second motion, the Supreme Court of North Carolina declined to take judicial notice of the federal court's findings and judgment, for reasons discussed at some length in its opinion, and concluded that the appellants "were not, as a matter of right, entitled to have the verdict set aside."
At least since the decision in State v. Turner, 170 N.C. 701, 86 S. E. 1019, in 1915, it has been the settled rule in North Carolina that "[a] motion to quash . . . lies only for a defect on the face of the warrant or indictment." 170 N. C., at 702, 86 S. E., at 1020. The rule that a motion to quash cannot rest on matters dehors the record proper has, so far as investigation reveals, been rigidly adhered to in all subsequent North Carolina decisions.
A similar conclusion must be reached as to the denial of the motion made at the end of the trial. That motion requested "[t]hat the verdict rendered by the jury . . . be set aside, that the Court withhold and arrest judgment and discharge the defendants notwithstanding the verdict, or grant the defendants a new trial . . . ." Whether the
Examination of the whole course of North Carolina decisions thus precludes the inference that the Supreme Court of North Carolina in this case arbitrarily denied the appellants an opportunity to present their federal claim. The judgment before us for review is the judgment which the Supreme Court of North Carolina made on the record before it, not the action of the state trial
A word of emphasis is appropriate, before concluding to make entirely explicit what it is that is involved in this case, and what is not. There is no issue here as to the
What is involved here is the assertion of a quite different constitutional claim—that the Supremacy Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment require a state criminal court to give conclusive effect to fact findings made in a civil action upon different evidence by a Federal District Court. While intimating no view as to the merits of this constitutional claim, we note only that it is a completely novel one. Cf. Hoag v. New Jersey, 356 U.S. 464, 470-471. The North Carolina Supreme Court did not decide this asserted federal question. We have found that it did not do so because of the requirements of rules of state procedural law within the Constitutional power of the States to define, and here clearly delineated and evenhandedly applied. We have no choice but to determine that this appeal must be dismissed because no federal question is before us. That determination is required by principles of judicial administration long settled in this Court, principles applicable alike to all litigants, irrespective of their race, color, politics, or religion.
I do not agree that the decision below rests on adequate nonfederal grounds. And—whether it does or not—it seems to me that the case should not be dismissed in view of developments since the argument.
The crucial holding below is that the North Carolina courts could not consider the Simkins
The relevant facts are few. When the federal court granted its injunction in Simkins, it found that appellants had been excluded from Gillespie Park on the occasion in question because they are Negroes. Simkins v. City of Greensboro, 149 F.Supp. 562, 565. As was held below, such exclusion, if established as a fact in this case, would be a complete defense to the State's trespass charge. 248 N. C., at 491-493, 103 S. E. 2d, at 851-852. Therefore, appellants offered the Simkins record in evidence during their trial.
On appeal to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, appellants sought review of their contention that the federal court findings were binding on the State in the subsequent criminal proceedings. At this point they made the mistake which deprived them of the opportunity to have that federal question reviewed. They failed to include their offer of proof and the rejected exhibits in their case on appeal, although they did include the ruling on the State's objection. With the resulting defective record before it, the State Supreme Court held that it could not review appellants' federal question because, as has been indicated, appellants "for reasons best known to themselves elected not to offer [the Simkins record] in evidence."
The Court holds that the state ground is adequate to support the decision below because, although we know the fact to be to the contrary, the assertion that appellants failed to offer the Simkins record in evidence "is borne out by the record" which the state court had before it. I cannot read that record—appellants' case on appeal—as does the Court. Therefore, I do not agree that the state ground is adequate. But even if it were, it does not follow that the case must—or should—be dismissed. Rather, the State's stipulation—a supervening event which may be of critical significance under North Carolina law—requires a different disposition, in the interests of justice, under controlling precedent.
First. It cannot be said, even on the defective record which the State Supreme Court had before it, that appellants
Second. Even if the state ground were adequate, the case should not be dismissed. After the argument in this Court, the State furnished the Court with a copy of the actual stenographic transcript of the trial. The State stipulated to the accuracy of that transcript. The transcript shows, beyond peradventure, that the decision below was based "upon a supposed state of facts which does not exist." Gorham v. Pacific Mut. Life Ins. Co., 215 N.C. 195,
Third. It should not be assumed that other state grounds, not relied on below, would preclude reconsideration by the state court if the case were remanded. As has been indicated, the State's stipulation may create infirmity in the state court's decision, under North Carolina law. See State v. Marsh, supra. A remaining obstacle to appellate review of appellants' federal question, under North Carolina practice, may be the omission of the rejected exhibits from appellants' case on appeal. See In re Smith's Will, 163 N.C. 464, 79 S. E. 977. But records can be corrected. The Court refers us to cases which show that the North Carolina court may permit
It is true that there is language in North Carolina cases, to which the State has called our attention, that indicates that a record settled by agreement—rather than by the trial court—may only be corrected by agreement. See Smith v. Capital Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 221 N.C. 202, 19 S.E.2d 626; Gorham v. Pacific Mut. Life Ins. Co., supra. And language from State v. Dee, 214 N.C. 509, 512, 199 S. E. 730, 732, quoted by the Court in another connection, suggests that the state court is disinclined to permit the correction of a defective record when the case on appeal is settled by the parties. But these cases are not in point in the circumstances of the case before us.
The rule stated in Smith and Gorham—that a record settled by agreement can only be corrected by agreement —is subject to a very relevant qualification. For in Gorham, the North Carolina court observed, in denying a losing party's request for a certiorari to correct the record, that:
Here, on the other hand, the State has stipulated to facts which do establish that the case was decided below "upon a supposed state of facts which does not exist." That is precisely what the prevailing party in Gorham did not concede. This case, therefore, is governed by Cook and Marsh, not by Gorham.
Likewise, in Dee, the North Carolina court denied the State's request for a certiorari to correct an alleged error in the case on appeal. But in Dee, as in Gorham, the prevailing party did not concede that there was any error in the record. In fact, the court itself expressed skepticism about the State's claim:
On these facts, quite different from those before us, it is perhaps understandable that the state court refused to entertain the State's appeal to its discretion.
Therefore, it appears that if the case were remanded, appellants would very likely be permitted to correct their
"(2) By appeal, where is drawn in question the validity of a statute of any state on the ground of its being repugnant to the Constitution, treaties or laws of the United States, and the decision is in favor of its validity."
"Section 2—Use of Golf Facilities. The golf course and its facilities shall be used only by members, their invited guests, members in good standing of other golf clubs, members of the Carolina Golf Association, pupils of the Professional and his invited guests."
"Now, if the State has satisfied you from the evidence and beyond a reasonable doubt that the land in question, that is the golf course property, was the land of the corporation, that it had the actual possession of the property and that the defendants entered upon the land intentionally and that they did so after being forbidden to do so by an agent or employee of the corporation who was authorized to tell them that they could not play golf, then, nothing else appearing, that would constitute a violation of the statute. However, although the State may prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a prosecution under this statute that the accused intentionally entered upon the land in the actual possession of the corporation after being forbidden to do so by an agent of the corporation and thereby establish as an ultimate fact that the accused entered the property without legal right, the accused may still escape conviction by showing as an affirmative defense that he entered under a bona fide claim of right.
"Bona fide claim of right means a claim of right in good faith or bona fide itself means in good faith. That is to say, when the defendants seek to excuse an entry without legal right as one taking place under a bona fide claim of right, then the burden is upon such defendant to show two things: not beyond a reasonable doubt or even by the greater weight of the evidence, but merely to the satisfaction of the jury, first, that he believed he had a right to enter; and, second, that he had reasonable grounds for such belief.
"Now, the defendants by their plea of not guilty deny their guilt of each and every element of the offense charged, but they further say and contend that even if it be found that the land in question was in the actual possession of the corporation and that they entered the land intentionally and that they did so and remained there after being forbidden to do so, they say that even if that be found that they did so under a bona fide claim of right and that they believed they had a right to enter and that they had reasonable grounds for such belief.
"Now, as to that question which arises upon the evidence, I instruct you then, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that under the law as determined by the United States Court and as pronounced by them, the Gillespie Golf Club, Inc., by leasing the land from the City of Greensboro to use as a golf course was subjected to the same obligations as the City of Greensboro would have been had it operated a golf course itself. It was subjected to the same rights as the City would have had, the same obligations and same responsibilities; that is to say, the law would not permit the City and, therefore, would not permit its lessee, the Gillespie Park Golf Club, Inc., to discriminate against any citizen of Greensboro in the maintenance and operation and use of a golf course. It could not exclude either defendant because of his race or for any other reason applicable to them alone; that is to say, they were entitled to the same rights to use the golf course as any other citizen of Greensboro would be provided they complied with the reasonable rules and regulations for the operation and maintenance and use of the golf course. They would not be required to comply with any unreasonable rules and regulations for the operation and maintenance and use of the golf course.
"Furthermore, I instruct you that your verdict will not be prompted in any manner whatsoever by the race of the defendants. That has absolutely nothing to do with the case in law and should not be considered by you. Under the law, all citizens have equal rights and equal responsibilities in the maintenance and use of public facilities, that is facilities maintained by the governmental unit in which they live, and therefore the fact that the defendants are Negroes certainly may not be considered to their prejudice nor to the prejudice of the State."
"The mere assertion that a court of this State has not given due recognition to a judgment rendered by one of our Federal courts merits serious consideration.
"When the doctrine of collateral estoppel should be applied is not always easily solved. In Van Schuyver v. State, 8 P.2d 688, it was held that a judgment in a civil action between prosecuting witness and defendant which determined the ownership of domestic fowl could not be used by the defendant in a criminal action to estop the State from prosecuting him on a charge of larceny. Similar conclusions have been reached in other jurisdictions with respect to the ownership of property. State v. Hogard, 12 Minn. 293; People v. Leland, 25 N.Y.S. 943; Hill v. State, 3 S. W. 764 (Tex.)
"It is said in the annotation to Mitchell v. State, 103 Am. St. Rep. 17: `When the previous judgment arose in a case in which the state or commonwealth was the prosecutor or plaintiff and the defendant in the case at bar was also the defendant, and the judgment was with reference to a subject which is material to the case at bar, the doctrine of res judicata applies. (citations) But where the judgment to which it is sought to apply the doctrine of res judicata was rendered in a civil proceeding to which the state was not a party, or in a criminal proceeding to which the defendant in the case at bar was not a party, the doctrine of res judicata does not apply. (citations)'
"The Supreme Court of the United States has recognized and applied the law as there announced to differing factual situations. Compare U. S. v. Baltimore & O. R. Co., 229 U.S. 244, 57 L. Ed. 1169, and Williams v. N. C., 325 U.S. 226, 89 L. ed. 1577. Other illustrations may be found in: S. v. Dula, 204 N.C. 535, 168 S. E. 836; Warren v. Ins. Co., 215 N.C. 402, 2 S.E.2d 17; Powers v. Davenport, 101 N.C. 286; S. v. Boland, 41 N.W.2d 727; People v. McKenna, 255 P.2d 452; S. v. Morrow, 75 P.2d 737; S. v. Cornwell, 91 A.2d 456; S. v. Greenberg, 109 A.2d 669. Extensive annotations appear as a note to Green v. State, 87 A. L. R. 1251; 30A Am. Jur. 518." 248 N. C., at 493, 495, 103 S. E. 2d, at 852, 853-854.
Compare what was said by this Court in Hoag v. New Jersey, 356 U.S. 464, 471: "Despite its wide employment, we entertain grave doubts whether collateral estoppel can be regarded as a constitutional requirement. Certainly this Court has never so held."
Eight pages later, following the transcript of the testimony of another witness, there appears in the record before the North Carolina court the following, also reproduced here in its entirety: "Mrs. Kennedy: If your Honor please, we'd like, if possible, to have a ruling on whether or not these would be admissible. Court: I am going to sustain the objection as to those two Exhibits, that is #6 and #7." There is nothing in the record before the North Carolina Supreme Court to indicate what "these" meant, and "Exhibits 6 and 7" were not further identified nor made part of the record as an offer of evidence as required by North Carolina law, In re Smith's Will, 163 N.C. 464, 79 S. E. 977, nor otherwise submitted to the Supreme Court of North Carolina.
"DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MRS. KENNEDY:
"Q. Will you state your name and address, please?
"A. I am Myrtle D. Cobb. I am deputy clerk in the Federal Court in Greensboro.
"Q. As Deputy Clerk in the Federal Court here in Greensboro, is it part of your duty to keep public records?
"A. Yes, it is.
"Q. Do you have a record in the case of Simkins, et al, vs. Gillespie Park Golf Course, et al?
"A. This is the case. It is all the original papers that went up to the Court of Appeals that was filed in our office.
"Q. Were the findings of fact part of that record?
"MRS. KENNEDY: Your Honor, at this time we'd like to offer into evidence a decree, the findings of fact, conclusions of law and opinion, as rendered by the Judge of the Federal Court, Middle District of Greensboro.
"MR. KORNEGAY: OBJECTION.
"THE COURT: Do you have anything further that you want to introduce in regard to that?
"MRS. KENNEDY: In addition to that, we have the opinion of the Circuit Court of Appeals on this case.
"MR. KORNEGAY: OBJECTION.
"THE COURT: Let the record show that is being offered in evidence. I will rule on it later.
"(The documents referred to were marked for identification DEFENDANTS' EXHIBITS 6 and 7)
"THE COURT: Anything else?
"MRS. KENNEDY: Not with this witness, your Honor."
However, it may be worth noting in this connection that there is no relevant distinction between criminal cases like this one and civil cases like Aycock. Cf. the Court's opinion, note 10. The same statute, said to limit the power of the state court to go outside the record, see State v. Dee, supra, at 512, 199 S. E., at 732 (quoted by the Court), is equally applicable to either type of case. Likewise, the apparently inflexible rule stated in the criminal cases cited by the Court is also stated in numerous civil cases. See, as representative, Hagan v. Jenkins, 234 N.C. 425, 67 S.E.2d 380; Bame v. Palmer Stone Works, 232 N.C. 267, 59 S.E.2d 812. The same precedents are applicable in both types of case. See, for example, Bame v. Palmer Stone Works, supra, and conversely, the Dee and Weaver cases cited by the Court. Therefore, if the rule stated in the criminal decisions relied on by the Court is as inflexible as it purports to be, it should be equally so in civil cases. Yet Aycock shows that the rule is less rigid in fact than in articulation.
The Court also distinguishes Aycock because there the state court went outside the record to verify an apparent lack of jurisdiction. See the Court's opinion, note 11. However, so far as has been called to our attention, the North Carolina court has never suggested such a distinction. It would seem more logical, therefore, to assume that if the state court can go outside the record where it apparently lacks jurisdiction, it can do so where its jurisdiction is clear.