MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
The question here is whether the claim of a federal prisoner that he was convicted on evidence obtained in an unconstitutional search and seizure is cognizable in a post-conviction proceeding under 28 U. S. C. § 2255.
Petitioner then filed this post-conviction proceeding under § 2255 and included a claim that the finding of sanity was based upon the improper admission of unlawfully seized evidence.
We treat the actions of the District Court and the Court of Appeals as grounded on the view consistently
The authority of the federal courts to issue the writ of habeas corpus was incorporated in the very first grant of federal court jurisdiction made by the Judiciary Act of 1789, c. 20, § 14, 1 Stat. 81, with the limiting provision that "writs of habeas corpus shall in no case extend to prisoners in gaol, unless where they are in custody, under or by colour of the authority of the United States . . . ." Common-law principles initially determined the scope of the writ. Ex parte Bollman, 4 Cranch 75, 93-94 (1807). In 1867, however, the writ was extended to state prisoners, and its scope was expanded to authorize relief, both as to federal and state prisoners, in "all cases where any person may be restrained of his or her liberty in violation of the constitution, or of any treaty or law of the United States . . . ." Act of February 5, 1867, c. 28, § 1, 14 Stat. 385.
Section 2255 revised the procedure by which federal prisoners are to seek such relief but did not in any respect cut back the scope of the writ. The section was included in the 1948 revision of the Judicial Code "at the instance of the Judicial Conference [of the United States] to meet practical difficulties that had arisen in administering the habeas corpus jurisdiction of the federal courts. Nowhere in the history of Section 2255 do we find any purpose to impinge upon prisoners' rights of collateral attack upon their convictions. On the contrary, the sole purpose was to minimize the difficulties encountered in habeas corpus hearings by affording the same rights in another and more convenient forum," United States v.
We noted in Fay v. Noia, 372 U.S. 391, 409 (1963) that "[t]he course of decisions of this Court . . . makes plain that restraints contrary to our fundamental law, the Constitution, may be challenged on federal habeas even though imposed pursuant to the conviction of a federal court of competent jurisdiction."
The Government suggests another rationale for denying post-conviction relief to federal prisoners with illegal search-and-seizure claims. The denial of Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the Government's argument runs, is of a different nature from denials of other constitutional rights which we have held subject to collateral attack by federal prisoners. For unlike a claim of denial of effective counsel or of violation of the privilege against self-incrimination, as examples, a claim of illegal search and seizure does not impugn the integrity of the fact-finding process or challenge evidence as inherently unreliable; rather, the exclusion of illegally seized evidence is simply a prophylactic device intended generally to deter Fourth Amendment violations by law enforcement officers. This deterrent function, the Government argues, is adequately served by the opportunities afforded a federal defendant to enforce the exclusionary rule before or at trial, so that the relatively minimal additional deterrence afforded by a post-conviction remedy would not seem to justify, except in special circumstances, the collateral release of guilty persons who did not raise the search-and-seizure
The Government concedes in its brief that we have already rejected this approach with respect to the availability of the federal habeas corpus remedy to state prisoners. This rejection was premised in large part on a recognition that the availability of collateral remedies is necessary to insure the integrity of proceedings at and before trial where constitutional rights are at stake. Our decisions leave no doubt that the federal habeas remedy extends to state prisoners alleging that unconstitutionally obtained evidence was admitted against them at trial. See, e. g., Mancusi v. DeForte, 392 U.S. 364 (1968); Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U.S. 234 (1968); Warden v. Hayden, 387 U.S. 294 (1967); see also Henry v. Mississippi, 379 U.S. 443, 452 (1965). The Government argues, however, that federal post-conviction relief should not be available to federal prisoners in as broad a range of cases as that cognizable when presented by state prisoners. Support for this proposition is drawn from the fact that considerations which this Court, in Fay v. Noia, supra, deemed justifications for affording a federal forum to state prisoners—e. g., the necessity that federal courts have the "last say" with respect to questions of federal law, the inadequacy of state procedures to raise and preserve federal claims, the concern that state judges may be unsympathetic to federally created rights, the institutional constraints on the exercise of this Court's
The opportunity to assert federal rights in a federal forum is clearly not the sole justification for federal post-conviction relief; otherwise there would be no need to make such relief available to federal prisoners at all. The provision of federal collateral remedies rests more fundamentally upon a recognition that adequate protection of constitutional rights relating to the criminal trial process requires the continuing availability of a mechanism for relief. This is no less true for federal prisoners than it is for state prisoners.
In Townsend v. Sain, supra, at 313, 318, we set down the circumstances under which a federal court must review constitutional claims—including, of course, claims of illegal search and seizure—presented by state prisoners:
Of these, only the duty of the federal habeas court to scrutinize "the fact-finding procedure" under (3) does not apply in the case of a federal prisoner; federal fact-finding procedures are by hypothesis adequate to assure the integrity of the underlying constitutional rights. Thus, when a request for relief under § 2255 asserts a claim of unconstitutional search and seizure which was tested by a motion to suppress at or before trial under Fed. Rule Crim. Proc. 41 (e), the § 2255 court need not stop to review the adequacy of the procedure established by that Rule. In this respect, and in this respect only, the position of the federal prisoner does differ from that of the state prisoner. We perceive no differences between the situations of state and federal prisoners which should make allegations of the other circumstances listed in Townsend v. Sain less subject to scrutiny by a § 2255 court.
We cannot agree with the suggestion in MR. JUSTICE BLACK'S dissent that the weight to be accorded the benefits
More fundamentally, the logic of his dissent cannot be limited to the availability of post-conviction relief. It brings into question the propriety of the exclusionary rule itself. The application of that rule is not made to turn on the existence of a possibility of innocence; rather, exclusion of illegally obtained evidence is deemed necessary to protect the right of all citizens, not merely the citizen on trial, to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. As we said in Miller v. United States, 357 U.S. 301, 313 (1958):
Finally, MR. JUSTICE BLACK'S reliance on petitioner's concession of participation in the robbery is misplaced.
We thus reject the rule announced in the majority opinion in Thornton and adopt the reasoning of Judge Wright's dissent in that case, 125 U. S. App. D. C., at 123, 368 F. 2d, at 831:
We therefore hold that a claim of unconstitutional search and seizure is cognizable in a § 2255 proceeding. The order of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
MR. JUSTICE BLACK, dissenting.
Petitioner Kaufman was convicted of robbing a federally insured savings and loan association while armed with a pistol. Part of the evidence used against him was a revolver, some of the stolen traveler's checks, a money-order receipt, a traffic summons, and gasoline receipts. During the trial petitioner's counsel conceded that petitioner had committed the robbery but contended he was not responsible for the crime because he was mentally ill at the time. An appeal from his conviction was rejected by the Court of Appeals, 350 F.2d 408 (C. A. 8th Cir. 1965), and we denied certiorari, 383 U.S. 951 (1966). Three months later—after the
My dissent rests on my belief that not every conviction based in part on a denial of a constitutional right is subject to attack by habeas corpus or § 2255 proceedings after a conviction has become final. This conclusion is supported by the language of § 2255 which clearly suggests that not every constitutional claim is intended to be a basis for collateral relief.
Of course one important factor that would relate to whether the conviction should be vulnerable to collateral
I agree with the Court's conclusion that the scope of collateral attack is substantially the same in federal habeas corpus cases which involve challenges to state convictions, as it is in § 2255 cases which involve challenges to federal convictions. The crucial question, however, is whether certain types of claims, such as a claim to keep out relevant and trustworthy evidence because the result of an unconstitutional search and seizure, should normally be open in these collateral proceedings. This question was fully and carefully considered by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Thornton v. United States, 125 U. S. App. D. C. 114, 368 F.2d 822 (1966), and I agree substantially with the opinion of Judge Leventhal for the majority of that court, which states:
It was formerly the rule in this country that judgments were so impervious to collateral attack that a defendant could not collaterally attack his conviction even after the Government had admitted his innocence. That rule, obviously a harsh and what might seem to most people an indefensible one, has of course now been abandoned. It was finally put to rest in Fay v. Noia, 372 U.S. 391 (1963). It is this element of probable or possible innocence that I think should be given weight in determining whether a judgment after conviction and appeal and affirmance should be open to collateral attack, for the great historic role of the writ of habeas corpus has been to insure the reliability of the guilt-determining process.
It was under these circumstances, strongly appealing to the Court's sense of what justice required, that this Court held that Noia was entitled to challenge his conviction even though it had previously become "final." My Brother HARLAN, dissenting, concluded that no matter how appealing the circumstances, one wrongly convicted must be consigned to the slow, tedious, and uncertain road to whatever relief he might possibly get from the Chief Executive. On the contrary, I agreed with Fay v. Noia as one of the bright landmarks in the administration of criminal justice. But I did not think then and do not think now that it laid down an inflexible rule compelling the courts to release every prisoner who alleges in collateral proceedings some constitutional flaw, regardless of its nature, regardless of his guilt or innocence, and regardless of the circumstances of the case. The Court's opinion in Noia shows, from beginning to end, that the defendant's guilt or innocence is at least one of the vital considerations in determining whether collateral relief should be available to a convicted defendant.
And in its closing paragraph, the Court stressed:
Surely, it cannot be said of Kaufman, an admitted armed robber, that he is a person whom "society has grievously wronged and for whom belated liberation is little enough compensation."
A claim of illegal search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment is crucially different from many other constitutional rights; ordinarily the evidence seized can in no way have been rendered untrustworthy by the means of its seizure and indeed often this evidence alone establishes beyond virtually any shadow of a doubt that the defendant is guilty. A good example of such a case is one in which I filed a dissent today, Harris v. Nelson, post, p. 286. The prisoner in Harris was convicted on a charge that he had been in possession of marihuana, possession alone being a crime under state law. He later collaterally attacked that conviction, alleging that the marihuana had been unlawfully seized from his home, where he had been in illegal possession of it. He did not and evidently could not allege a single fact that would indicate the slightest possibility that he actually was innocent of the crime charged. Under these circumstances it implies no disrespect for the importance of the Fourth Amendment to recognize the simple proposition that treatment of search-and-seizure claims should
The purpose of the exclusionary rule, unlike most provisions of the Bill of Rights, does not include, even to the slightest degree, the goal of insuring that the guilt-determining process be reliable. Rather, as this Court has said time and again, the rule has one primary and overriding purpose, the deterrence of unconstitutional searches and seizures by the police. As the Court said in Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 636-637 (1965):
How this purpose can be served by the broad and unqualified rule adopted by the Court today is something
The only other justification for the Court's result that can be gleaned from its opinion is the statement that the reasoning of the Court of Appeals in Thornton "exalts the value of finality in criminal judgments at the expense of the interest of each prisoner in the vindication of his constitutional rights." Ante, at 228. This astonishing statement is directly contrary to the principles this Court has consistently applied on this subject, as for example in Elkins v. United States, 364 U.S. 206, 217 (1960), where we said: "The [exclusionary] rule is calculated to prevent, not to repair. Its purpose is to deter—
The Court's consistent adherence to this approach has continued through all of the various "retroactivity" cases, including today's decision in Desist v. United States, post, p. 244, in which the Court emphasizes, quoting from Linkletter, that " `[t]he misconduct of the police. . . has already occurred and will not be corrected by releasing the prisoners involved,' " and that "the exclusionary rule is but a `procedural weapon that has no bearing on guilt.' " It would be hard to find a more apt summary of this Court's holdings in these "retroactivity" cases than the statement that they "exal[t] the value of finality in criminal judgments at the expense of the interest of each prisoner in the vindication of his constitutional rights." But since this is the course the Court has chosen to steer, I think it would not be amiss to suggest that the Court at least decide this case on the same principles and seek to achieve a modest semblance of consistency. Instead the Court adopts a rule that offers no discernible benefits in enforcing the Fourth Amendment and insures that prisoners who are undoubtedly guilty will be set free.
It is seemingly becoming more and more difficult to gain acceptance for the proposition that punishment of
I cannot agree to a rule, however technical it may seem, that leads to these results. I would not let any criminal conviction become invulnerable to collateral attack where there is left remaining the probability or possibility that constitutional commands related to the integrity of the fact-finding process have been violated. In such situations society has failed to perform its obligation to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. But it is quite a different thing to permit collateral attack on a conviction after a trial according to due process when the defendant clearly is, by the proof and by his own admission, guilty of the crime charged. There may, of course, as the Court of Appeals held in the Thornton case, be some special circumstances in which allowance of a Fourth Amendment claim in a collateral proceeding would be justified in terms of the relevant and applicable constitutional principles. Some of the situations possibly falling in this category have been enumerated and examined by others,
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, whom MR. JUSTICE STEWART joins, dissenting.
I concur in much of my Brother BLACK'S opinion, and agree with his conclusion that 28 U. S. C. § 2255 should be available to contest the admission of evidence allegedly seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment only under limited and special circumstances of the sort suggested in Thornton v. United States, 125 U. S. App. D. C. 114, 368 F.2d 822 (1966). I must, however, disassociate myself from any implications, see, e. g., ante, at 232-233, 234-236, that the availability of this collateral remedy turns on a petitioner's assertion that he was in fact innocent, or on the substantiality of such an allegation.
I think it appropriate to add that the main roots of the situation against which my Brother BLACK so rightly
I therefore dissent from the opinion of the Court.
"A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.
"A motion for such relief may be made at any time.
"Unless the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief, the court shall cause notice thereof to be served upon the United States attorney, grant a prompt hearing thereon, determine the issues and make findings of fact and conclusions of law with respect thereto. If the court finds that the . . . sentence imposed was not authorized by law or otherwise open to collateral attack, or that there has been such a denial or infringement of the constitutional rights of the prisoner as to render the judgment vulnerable to collateral attack, the court shall vacate and set the judgment aside and shall discharge the prisoner or resentence him or grant a new trial or correct the sentence as may appear appropriate.
"A court may entertain and determine such motion without requiring the production of the prisoner at the hearing.
"The sentencing court shall not be required to entertain a second or successive motion for similar relief on behalf of the same prisoner."
We have not overlooked that the District Court's statement that "this matter was not assigned as error on Kaufman's appeal from conviction . . ." suggests that in any event failure to appeal the conviction renders the § 2255 remedy unavailable. This suggestion is contrary to our decisions that failure to take a direct appeal from conviction does not deprive a federal post-conviction court of power to adjudicate the merits of constitutional claims; the question rather is whether the case is one in which refusal to exercise that power would be appropriate. See Fay v. Noia, 372 U.S. 391, 438-440 (1963); Henry v. Mississippi, 379 U.S. 443, 451-452 (1965).
This certainly is not a case where there was a "deliberate by-pass" of a direct appeal. Appointed counsel had objected at trial to the admission of certain evidence on grounds of unlawful search and seizure, but newly appointed appellate counsel did not assign the admission as error either in his brief or on oral argument of the appeal. After oral argument of the appeal, however, petitioner wrote a letter to appellate counsel asking him to submit to the Court of Appeals a claim of illegal search and seizure of items from his automobile. Counsel forwarded petitioner's letter to the Clerk of the Court of Appeals who notified counsel that petitioner's letter had been given to the panel which had heard and was considering the appeal. The opinion of the Court of Appeals affirming petitioner's conviction does not appear to pass on the search-and-seizure claim.
Furthermore, the § 2255 court may in a proper case deny relief to a federal prisoner who has deliberately bypassed the orderly federal procedures provided at or before trial and by way of appeal—e. g., motion to suppress under Fed. Rule Crim. Proc. 41 (e) or appeal under Fed. Rule App. Proc. 4 (b). Fay v. Noia, supra, n. 3, at 438; Henry v. Mississippi, supra, n. 3, at 451-452.