CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case presents the question whether a third party has standing to challenge the validity of a death sentence imposed on a capital defendant who has elected to forgo his right of appeal to the State Supreme Court. Petitioner Jonas Whitmore contends that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments prevent the State of Arkansas from carrying out the death sentence imposed on Ronald Gene Simmons without first conducting a mandatory appellate review of Simmons' conviction and sentence. We hold that petitioner lacks standing, and therefore dismiss the writ of certiorari.
On December 28, 1987, Ronald Gene Simmons shot and killed two people and wounded three others in the course of a rampage through the town of Russellville, Arkansas. After police apprehended Simmons, they searched his home in nearby Dover, Arkansas, and discovered the bodies of 14 members of Simmons' family, all of whom had been murdered. The State filed two sets of criminal charges against
Simmons was first tried for the Russellville crimes, and a jury convicted him of capital murder and sentenced him to death. After being sentenced, Simmons made this statement under oath: " `I, Ronald Gene Simmons, Sr., want it to be known that it is my wish and my desire that absolutely no action by anybody be taken to appeal or in any way change this sentence. It is further respectfully requested that this sentence be carried out expeditiously.' " See Franz v. State, 296 Ark. 181, 183, 754 S.W.2d 839, 840 (1988). The trial court conducted a hearing concerning Simmons' competence to waive further proceedings, and concluded that his decision was knowing and intelligent.
As Simmons' execution date approached Louis J. Franz, a Catholic priest who counsels inmates at the Arkansas Department of Corrections, petitioned the Supreme Court of Arkansas for permission to proceed as Simmons' "next friend" and to prosecute an appeal on his behalf. The court held that Franz did not have standing as "next friend," because he had not alleged facts showing that he had ever met Simmons, much less that he had a close relationship with the defendant. It also rejected both his argument for standing under the Arkansas Constitution as an aggrieved taxpayer and his assertion that he should have standing as a concerned citizen to prevent an important legal issue from going unresolved at the appellate level.
In dicta, the court went on to state that Arkansas law does not require a mandatory appeal in all death penalty cases. It did note, however, that a defendant sentenced to death in Arkansas will be able to forgo his direct appeal "only if he has been judicially determined to have the capacity to understand the choice between life and death and to knowingly and intelligently waive any and all rights to appeal his sentence." Id., at 189, 754 S. W. 2d, at 843. After reviewing the record of the trial court's competency hearing, the Supreme Court
The State subsequently tried Simmons for the murder of his 14 family members, and on February 10, 1989, a jury convicted him of capital murder and imposed a sentence of death by lethal injection. Simmons again notified the trial court of his desire to waive his right to direct appeal, and after a hearing, the court found Simmons competent to do so. The Supreme Court of Arkansas, pursuant to the rule established in Franz, reviewed the competency determination and affirmed the trial court's decision that Simmons had knowingly and intelligently waived his right to appeal. Simmons v. State, 298 Ark. 193, 766 S.W.2d 422 (1989). The court commended the trial court and Simmons' counsel for doing "an exceptional job in examining and exploring [Simmons'] capacity to understand the choice between life and death and his ability to know and to intelligently waive any and all right he might have in an appeal of his sentence." Id., at 194, 766 S. W. 2d, at 423. The court also noted that Simmons' counsel "thoroughly discussed seven possible points that could be argued for reversal on appeal" and that Simmons acknowledged those points but "rejected all encouragement and suggestions to appeal." Ibid.
Three days later, petitioner Jonas Whitmore, another death row inmate in Arkansas, sought permission from the Supreme Court of Arkansas to intervene in Simmons' proceeding both individually and "as next friend of Ronald Gene Simmons." The court concluded that Whitmore had failed to show he had standing to intervene, and it denied the motion. Simmons v. State, 298 Ark. 255, 766 S.W.2d 423 (1989).
This is not the first time we have encountered a third party seeking to prevent the execution of a capital defendant who has decided to forgo further judicial proceedings. In Gilmore v. Utah, 429 U.S. 1012 (1976), we considered an application for a stay of the execution of Gary Mark Gilmore, filed by his mother Bessie Gilmore after the defendant declined to request relief. A majority of the Court concluded that Gilmore had made a knowing and intelligent waiver of any federal rights available to him and, accordingly, allowed the execution to go forward. Four Members of the Court, however, felt that the standing and other constitutional issues raised by the application were substantial and would have given the matter plenary consideration. Since Gilmore, we have been presented with other applications from third parties for stays of execution, see Lenhard v. Wolff, 443 U.S. 1306, stay of execution denied, 444 U.S. 807 (1979); Evans v. Bennett, 440 U.S. 1301, stay of execution denied, 440 U.S. 987 (1979), but until the present case, we have not requested full briefing and argument and issued an opinion of the Court on this recurring issue.
Petitioner Whitmore asks this Court to hold that despite Simmons' failure to appeal, the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments require the State of Arkansas to conduct an appellate review of his conviction and sentence before it can proceed to execute him. It is well established, however, that before a federal court can consider the merits of a legal claim, the person seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of the court must establish the requisite standing to sue. Article III, of course,
Although we have acknowledged before that "the concept of `Art. III standing' has not been defined with complete consistency in all of the various cases decided by this Court which have discussed it," Valley Forge, supra, at 475, certain basic principles have been distilled from our decisions. To establish an Art. III case or controversy, a litigant first must clearly demonstrate that he has suffered an "injury in fact." That injury, we have emphasized repeatedly, must be concrete in both a qualitative and temporal sense. The complainant must allege an injury to himself that is "distinct and palpable," Warth, supra, at 501, as opposed to merely "[a]bstract," O'Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 494 (1974), and the alleged harm must be actual or imminent, not "conjectural" or "hypothetical." Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 101-102 (1983). Further, the litigant must satisfy the "causation" and "redressability" prongs of the Art. III minima by showing that the injury "fairly can be traced to the challenged action" and "is likely to be redressed by a favorable decision." Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organization, 426 U.S. 26, 38, 41 (1976); Valley Forge, supra, at 472. The litigant must clearly and specifically set forth facts sufficient to satisfy these Art. III standing requirements. A federal court is powerless to create its own
As we understand Whitmore's claim of standing in his individual capacity, he alleges that the State has infringed rights that the Eighth Amendment grants to him personally and to the subject of the impending execution, Simmons. He therefore rests his claim to relief both on his own asserted legal right to a system of mandatory appellate review and on Simmons' similar right. Under either theory, Whitmore must establish Art. III standing, see Secretary of State of Md. v. Joseph H. Munson Co., 467 U.S. 947, 956 (1984); Singleton v. Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 112 (1976), and we find that his allegations fall short of doing so.
Whitmore's principal claim of injury in fact is that Arkansas has established a system of comparative review in death penalty cases, and that he has "a direct and substantial interest in having the data base against which his crime is compared to be complete and to not be arbitrarily skewed by the omission of any other capital case." Brief for Petitioner 21. Although he has already been convicted of murder and sentenced to death, has exhausted his direct appellate review, see Whitmore v. State, 296 Ark. 308, 756 S.W.2d 890 (1988), and has been denied state postconviction relief, Whitmore v. State, 299 Ark. 55, 771 S.W.2d 266 (1989), petitioner suggests that he might in the future obtain federal habeas corpus relief that would entitle him to a new trial. If, in that new trial, Whitmore is again convicted and sentenced to death, he would once more seek review of the sentence by the Supreme Court of Arkansas; that court would compare Whitmore's case with other capital cases to insure that the death penalty
Petitioner's alleged injury is too speculative to invoke the jurisdiction of an Art. III court. Whitmore's conviction and death sentence are final, and his claim that he may eventually secure federal habeas relief from his conviction is obviously problematic. Nor, although the odds may well be better, can petitioner prove that if he were to obtain habeas relief, he would be retried, convicted, and again sentenced to death. And even were we to follow Whitmore this far down the path, it is nothing more than conjecture that the addition of Simmons' crimes to a comparative review "data base" would lead the Supreme Court of Arkansas to set aside a death sentence for Whitmore, whose victim died after he stabbed her 10 times, cut her throat, and carved an "X" on the side of her face. 296 Ark., at 317, 756 S. W. 2d, at 895. In its comparative review of Whitmore's current sentence, the Arkansas court simply noted that defendants in similar robbery-murder capital crimes had also been sentenced to death. Ibid. Whitmore provides no factual basis for us to conclude that the sentence imposed on a mass murderer like Simmons would even be relevant to a future comparative review of Whitmore's sentence.
Whitmore's theory of injury is at least as speculative as others we have found insufficient to establish Art. III injury in fact. In O'Shea v. Littleton, supra, we held there was no case or controversy where residents of an Illinois town sought injunctive relief against a Magistrate and a Circuit Court Judge whom the plaintiffs claimed were engaged in a pattern and practice of illegal bondsetting, sentencing, and
We have likewise thought inadequate allegations of future injury contingent on a plaintiff having an encounter with police wherein police would administer an allegedly illegal "chokehol[d]," Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U. S., at 105, on the prospective future candidacy of a former Congressman, Golden v. Zwickler, 394 U.S. 103, 109 (1969), and on police using deadly force against a person fleeing from an as yet uneffected arrest. Ashcroft v. Mattis, 431 U.S. 171, 172, n. 2 (1977). Recently in Diamond v. Charles, 476 U.S. 54 (1986), we rejected a physician's attempt to defend a state law restricting abortions, because his complaint that fewer abortions would lead to more paying patients was " `unadorned speculation' " insufficient to invoke the federal judicial power. Id., at 66 (quoting Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organization, 426 U. S., at 44). Each of these cases demonstrates what we have said many times before and reiterate today: Allegations of possible future injury do not satisfy the requirements of Art. III. A threatened injury must be " `certainly impending' " to constitute injury in fact. Babbitt v. Farm Workers, 442 U.S. 289, 298 (1979) (quoting Pennsylvania v. West Virginia, 262 U.S. 553, 593 (1923)). See also Lyons, supra, at 102; United States v. Richardson, 418 U.S. 166, 177-178 (1974).
Probably the most attenuated injury conferring Art. III standing was that asserted by the respondents in United States v. SCRAP, 412 U.S. 669 (1974). There, an environmental
Even under the analysis of the standing question in SCRAP, which surely went to the very outer limit of the law, petitioner's asserted injury is not enough to establish jurisdiction. In SCRAP, the environmental group alleged that specific and perceptible harms — depletion of natural resources and increased littering — would befall its members imminently if the ICC orders were not reversed. That bald statement, even if incorrect, was held sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss, because the plaintiffs in SCRAP may have been able to show at trial that the string of occurrences alleged would happen immediately. But Whitmore does not make — and could not responsibly make — a similar claim of immediate harm. We can take judicial notice of the fact that writs of habeas corpus are granted in only some cases, and that guilty verdicts are returned after only some trials. It is just not possible for a litigant to prove in advance that the judicial system will lead to any particular result in his
Whitmore also contends that as a citizen of Arkansas, he is "entitled to the public interest protections of the Eighth Amendment," and has a right to invoke this Court's jurisdiction to insure that an execution is not carried out in Arkansas without appellate review. This allegation raises only the "generalized interest of all citizens in constitutional governance," Schlesinger v. Reservists Committee to Stop the War, 418 U.S. 208, 217 (1974), and is an inadequate basis on which to grant petitioner standing to proceed. To dispose of this claim, we need do no more than quote our decision in Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 754 (1984): "This Court has repeatedly held that an asserted right to have the Government act in accordance with law is not sufficient, standing alone, to confer jurisdiction on a federal court." Accord, Valley Forge College v. Americans United, 454 U. S., at 482-483, and 489-490, n. 26 ("Were we to recognize standing premised on an `injury' consisting solely of an alleged violation of a ` "personal constitutional right" to a government that does not establish religion,' a principled consistency would dictate recognition of respondents' standing to challenge execution of every capital sentence on the basis of a personal right to a government that does not impose cruel and unusual punishment") (quoting Americans United for Separation of Church & State, Inc. v. United States Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, 619 F.2d 252, 265 (CA3 1980) (citation omitted)); Schlesinger, supra, at 216-227; United States v. Richardson, supra, at 176-177.
As an alternative basis for standing to maintain this action, petitioner purports to proceed as "next friend of Ronald Gene Simmons." Although we have never discussed the concept
A "next friend" does not himself become a party to the habeas corpus action in which he participates, but simply pursues the cause on behalf of the detained person, who remains the real party in interest. Morgan v. Potter, 157 U.S. 195, 198 (1895); Nash ex rel. Hashimoto v. MacArthur, 87 U. S. App. D. C. 268, 269-270, 184 F.2d 606, 607-608 (1950), cert. denied, 342 U.S. 838 (1951). Most important for present purposes, "next friend" standing is by no means granted automatically to whomever seeks to pursue an action on behalf of another. Decisions applying the habeas corpus statute have adhered to at least two firmly rooted prerequisites for "next friend" standing. First, a "next friend" must provide an adequate explanation — such as inaccessibility, mental incompetence, or other disability — why the real party in interest cannot appear on his own behalf to prosecute the action. Wilson v. Lane, 870 F.2d 1250, 1253 (CA7 1989), cert. pending, No. 89-81; Smith ex rel. Missouri Public Defender Comm'n v. Armontrout, 812 F.2d 1050, 1053 (CA8), cert. denied, 483 U.S. 1033 (1987); Weber v. Garza, 570 F.2d 511, 513-514 (CA5 1978). Second, the "next friend" must be truly dedicated to the best interests of the person on whose behalf he seeks to litigate, see, e. g., Morris v. United States, 399 F.Supp. 720, 722 (ED Va. 1975), and it has been further
These limitations on the "next friend" doctrine are driven by the recognition that "[i]t was not intended that the writ of habeas corpus should be availed of, as matter of course, by intruders or uninvited meddlers, styling themselves next friends." United States ex rel. Bryant v. Houston, 273 F. 915, 916 (CA2 1921); see also Rosenberg v. United States, 346 U.S. 273, 291-292 (1953) (Jackson, J., concurring with five other Justices) (discountenancing practice of granting "next friend" standing to one who was a stranger to the detained persons and their case and whose intervention was unauthorized by the prisoners' counsel). Indeed, if there were no restriction on "next friend" standing in federal courts, the litigant asserting only a generalized interest in constitutional governance could circumvent the jurisdictional limits of Art. III simply by assuming the mantle of "next friend."
Whitmore, of course, does not seek a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Simmons. He desires to intervene in a state-court proceeding to appeal Simmons' conviction and death sentence. Under these circumstances, there is no federal statute authorizing the participation of "next friends." The Supreme Court of Arkansas recognizes, apparently as a matter of common law, the availability of "next friend" standing in the Arkansas courts, see Franz v. State, 296 Ark., at 184, 754 S. W. 2d, at 840-841, but declined to grant it to Whitmore. Without deciding whether a "next friend" may ever invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court absent congressional authorization, we think the scope of any federal doctrine of "next friend" standing is no broader than what is
That prerequisite for "next friend" standing is not satisfied where an evidentiary hearing shows that the defendant has given a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of his right to proceed, and his access to court is otherwise unimpeded. See Gilmore v. Utah, 429 U. S., at 1017 (STEVENS, J., concurring). Although we are not here faced with the question whether a hearing on mental competency is required by the United States Constitution whenever a capital defendant desires to terminate further proceedings, such a hearing will obviously bear on whether the defendant is able to proceed on his own behalf. The Supreme Court of Arkansas requires a competency hearing as a matter of state law, and in this case it affirmed the trial court's finding that Simmons had "the capacity to understand the choice between life and death and to knowingly and intelligently waive any and all rights to appeal his sentence." Simmons v. State, 298 Ark., at 194, 766 S. W. 2d, at 423. At oral argument, Whitmore's counsel questioned the validity of the waiver, but we find no reason to disturb the judgment of the Supreme Court of Arkansas on this point.
Simmons was questioned by counsel and the trial court concerning his choice to accept the death sentence, and his answers demonstrate that he appreciated the consequences of that decision. He indicated that he understood several possible grounds for appeal, which had been explained to him by counsel, but informed the court that he was "not seeking any technicalities." Tr. 15. In a psychiatric interview, Simmons stated that he would consider it " `a terrible miscarriage of justice for a person to kill people and not be executed,' "
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At the beginning of this century, the Court confronted a situation similar to this in which a concerned citizen sought to bring an ordinary civil action to secure relief for a condemned man. The Court's response on that occasion is equally apt today: "However friendly he may be to the doomed man and sympathetic for his situation; however concerned he may be lest unconstitutional laws be enforced, and however laudable such sentiments are, the grievance they suffer and feel is not special enough to furnish a cause of action in a case like this." Gusman v. Marrero, 180 U.S. 81, 87 (1901).
Jonas Whitmore lacks standing to proceed in this Court, and the writ of certiorari is dismissed for want of jurisdiction. See Doremus v. Board of Education of Hawthorne, 342 U.S. 429 (1952).
It is so ordered.
JUSTICE MARSHALL, with whom JUSTICE BRENNAN joins, dissenting.
The Court today allows a State to execute a man even though no appellate court has reviewed the validity of his conviction or sentence. In reaching this result, the Court does not address the constitutional claim presented by petitioner: whether a State must provide appellate review in a capital case despite the defendant's desire to waive such review. Rather, it decides that petitioner does not have standing to raise that issue before this Court. The Court rejects petitioner's argument that he should be allowed to proceed
Given the extraordinary circumstances of this case, then, consideration of whether federal common law precludes Jonas Whitmore's standing as Ronald Simmons' next friend should be informed by a consideration of the merits of Whitmore's claim. For the reasons discussed herein, the Constitution requires that States provide appellate review of capital cases notwithstanding a defendant's desire to waive such review. To prevent Simmons' unconstitutional execution, the Court should relax the common-law restriction on next-friend standing and permit Whitmore to present the merits question on Simmons' behalf. By refusing to address that question, the Court needlessly abdicates its grave responsibility to ensure that no person is wrongly executed. I dissent.
This Court has held that the Constitution does not require States to provide appellate review of noncapital criminal cases. Ross v. Moffitt, 417 U.S. 600, 611 (1974) (citing McKane v. Durston, 153 U.S. 684, 687 (1894)). It is by now axiomatic, however, that the unique, irrevocable nature of the death penalty necessitates safeguards not required for other punishments.
See also Zant v. Stephens, 462 U.S. 862, 884 (1983) ("[B]ecause there is a qualitative difference between death and any other permissible form of punishment, `there is a corresponding difference in the need for reliability in the determination that death is the appropriate punishment in a specific case' ") (quoting Woodson v. North Carolina, 428 U.S. 280, 305 (1976) (plurality opinion)); Eddings v. Oklahoma, 455 U.S. 104, 118 (1982) (O'CONNOR, J., concurring) ("[T]his Court has gone to extraordinary measures to ensure that the prisoner sentenced to be executed is afforded process that will guarantee, as much as is humanly possible, that the sentence was not imposed out of whim, passion, prejudice, or mistake").
This Court has consistently recognized the crucial role of appellate review in ensuring that the death penalty is not imposed arbitrarily or capriciously. In Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976), the Court upheld Georgia's capital sentencing scheme in large part because the statute required appellate review of every death sentence.
The existence of mandatory appellate review was also a significant factor in the Court's decision upholding California's capital sentencing scheme in Pulley v. Harris, 465 U.S. 37, 53 (1984). Moreover, although the Court held that the Constitution does not require appellate courts to engage in
Thus, much of this Court's death penalty jurisprudence rests on the recognition that appellate review is a crucial means of promoting reliability and consistency in capital sentencing. The high percentage of capital cases reversed on appeal vividly demonstrates that appellate review is an indispensable safeguard. Since 1983, the Arkansas Supreme Court, on direct review, has reversed in 8 out of 19 cases in which the death penalty had been imposed. See Robertson v. State, 298 Ark. 131, 137, 765 S.W.2d 936, 940 (1989) (Hickman, J., concurring); Fretwell v. State, 289 Ark. 91, 99, 708 S.W.2d 630, 634-635 (1986) (Hickman, J., concurring). Other States also have remarkably high reversal rates in capital cases. See, e. g., Burt, Disorder in the Court: The Death Penalty and the Constitution, 85 Mich. L. Rev. 1741, 1792 (1987) (Florida Supreme Court set aside 47% of death sentences between 1972 and 1984); Dix, Appellate Review of the Decision to Impose Death, 68 Geo. L. J. 97, 144-145, and n. 437 (1979) (Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed conviction or invalidated death sentence in 33% of cases between October 1975 and March 1979); id., at 111, and n. 92 (Georgia Supreme Court did same in 30% of capital cases between April 1974 and March 1979). Cf. Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880, 915 (1983) (MARSHALL, J., dissenting) (between 1976 and 1983, approximately 70% of capital defendants who had been denied federal habeas relief in district courts prevailed
Our cases and state courts' experience with capital cases compel the conclusion that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments require appellate review of at least death sentences to prevent unjust executions. I believe the Constitution also mandates review of the underlying convictions. The core concern of all our death penalty decisions is that States take steps to ensure to the greatest extent possible that no person is wrongfully executed. A person is just as wrongfully executed when he is innocent of the crime or was improperly convicted as when he was erroneously sentenced to death. States therefore must provide review of both the convictions and sentences in death cases.
Appellate review is necessary not only to safeguard a defendant's right not to suffer cruel and unusual punishment
A defendant's voluntary submission to a barbaric punishment does not ameliorate the harm that imposing such a punishment causes to our basic societal values and to the integrity of our system of justice. Certainly a defendant's consent to being drawn and quartered or burned at the stake would not license the State to exact such punishments. Nor could the State knowingly execute an innocent man merely because he refused to present a defense at trial and waived his right to appeal. Similarly, the State may not conduct an execution rendered unconstitutional by the lack of an appeal merely because the defendant agrees to that punishment.
This case thus does not involve a capital defendant's so-called "right to die." When a capital defendant seeks to circumvent procedures necessary to ensure the propriety of his conviction and sentence, he does not ask the State to permit him to take his own life. Rather, he invites the State to violate two of the most basic norms of a civilized society — that the State's penal authority be invoked only where necessary to serve the ends of justice, not the ends of a particular individual, and that punishment be imposed only where the State has adequate assurance that the punishment is justified. The Constitution forbids the State to accept that invitation.
Society's overwhelming interest in preventing wrongful executions is evidenced by the fact that almost all of the 37 States with the death penalty apparently have prescribed mandatory, nonwaivable appellate review of at least the sentence in capital cases. U. S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bulletin, Capital Punishment 1988, p. 5 (July 1989); Carter, Maintaining Systemic Integrity in Capital Cases: The Use of Court-Appointed Counsel to Present Mitigating Evidence When the Defendant Advocates Death, 55
This Court has recognized in other contexts that societal interests may justify limiting a competent person's ability to waive a constitutional protection. In Singer v. United States, 380 U.S. 24 (1965), for example, the Court upheld the constitutionality of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 23(a), which conditions a defendant's waiver of his right to a jury trial on the approval of the court and the prosecution. The Court reasoned that "[t]he Constitution recognizes an adversary system as the proper method of determining guilt, and the Government, as a litigant, has a legitimate interest in seeing that cases in which it believes a conviction is warranted are tried before the tribunal which the Constitution regards as most likely to produce a fair result." 380 U. S., at 36. Society's interest, expressed in the Eighth Amendment, of ensuring that punishments are neither cruel nor unusual similarly justifies restricting a defendant's ability to acquiesce in the infliction of wrongful punishment. Although death may, to some death row inmates, seem preferable to life in prison, society has the right, and indeed the obligation,
Given that the Constitution requires mandatory, nonwaivable appellate review, the question remains whether Whitmore may seek relief in this Court on Simmons' behalf. This Court should take whatever measures are necessary, and within its power, to prevent Simmons' illegal execution. The common-law doctrine of next-friend standing provides a mechanism for doing so without exceeding the Article III limitations on our jurisdiction.
As the Court acknowledges, a next friend pursues an action on behalf of the real party in interest. Ante, at 163. Simmons obviously satisfies the Article III and prudential standing requirements. The Court therefore does not dispute that Whitmore, standing in for Simmons, would also meet these requirements. The Court refuses to allow Whitmore to act as Simmons' next friend, however, because he has not shown that Simmons "is unable to litigate his own cause due to mental incapacity, lack of access to court, or
Assuming for the sake of argument that Simmons was competent to forgo petitioning this Court for review
Relaxation of those requirements is especially warranted here because judicial consideration of the claim that the Constitution requires appellate review of every capital case would
The only purpose the Court invokes for rigidly applying the restrictions on next-friend standing is preventing " `intruders or uninvited meddlers' " from pursuing habeas corpus relief " `as matter of course.' " Ante, at 164 (quoting United States ex rel. Bryant v. Houston, 273 F. 915, 916 (CA2 1921)). This purpose, however, does not justify refusing to allow Whitmore to proceed as Simmons' next friend in this Court.
The Court today refuses to address a meritorious constitutional claim by rigidly applying a technical common-law rule completely within its power to amend or suspend. It thereby permits States to violate the Constitution by executing willing defendants without requiring minimal assurance that their convictions were correct or their sentences justified. This decision thus continues the Court's unseemly effort to hasten executions at the cost of permitting constitutional violations to go unrectified. See, e. g., Butler v. McKellar, 494 U.S. 407 (1990); Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989). I dissent.