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Law School Case Brief

Gilmore v. Utah - 429 U.S. 1012, 97 S. Ct. 436 (1976)

Rule:

The Supreme Court of the United States has jurisdiction pursuant to Art. III of the Constitution only over "cases and controversies," and the Court can issue stays only in aid of its jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C.S. § 1651.

Facts:

On Oct. 7, 1976, defendant Gary Mark Gilmore was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by a judgment entered after a jury trial in a Utah court. On Dec. 2, 1976, Gilmore's mother, Bessie Gilmore, claiming to act as "next friend" on behalf of Gilmore, filed with the Supreme Court of the United States an application for a stay of execution of the death. The Court granted a temporary stay of execution in order to secure a complete record of proceedings from the State of Utah. The State thereafter responded; Gilmore later responded to the application, by and through his attorneys, challenging Mrs. Gilmore's standing to file the application on his behalf.

Issue:

Did Gilmore knowingly and intelligently waive any and all federal rights he might have asserted after being sentenced?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The Supreme Court of the United States terminated the stay of execution. The Court examined the record and materials submitted by the State, which indicated, inter alia, that in post-trial proceedings, Gilmore had been informed of his right to appeal; that he instructed his attorneys not to file an appeal and or a stay of execution; and that he had stated that he had had a fair trial. The Court ruled that Gilmore made a knowing and intelligent waiver of any and all federal rights he might have asserted after the Utah trial court's sentence was imposed. The Court further ruled that the record firmly supported the State's determinations of his competence knowingly and intelligently to waive any and all such rights. In a concurring opinion, one Justice opined that the Court lacked jurisdiction over the matter because: (1) there was no dispute between Gilmore and the State before the Court, and; (2) Mrs. Gilmore manifestly failed to meet the statutory requirements to invoke the Court's power to review the action of the Supreme Court of Utah. Thus, there was no case or controversy before the Court, and as it the Court could issue stays only in aid of its jurisdiction, termination of the stay of execution was warranted.

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