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STILTNER v. RHAY

June 28, 1965

Douglas STILTNER, Petitioner,
v.
B. J. RHAY, Superintendent Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla, Washington, and the State of Washington et al., Respondents



The opinion of the court was delivered by: POWELL

 POWELL, Chief Judge.

 The petitioner is an inmate in the Washington State Penitentiary. He has been permitted to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in forma pauperis. Two documents filed later have been consolidated with it. All three petitions have been heard and considered together and will be referred to in this opinion as if there were only one. The conviction from which this petitioner seeks his freedom is a sentence of not more than twenty years, under RCW 9.95.010, nor less than five years, under RCW 9.75.010, for the crime of robbery imposed by the Lewis County, Washington, Superior Court, on September 9, 1963.

 
This Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner's allegations are substantially as follows: Petitioner was arrested at Packwood, Washington, on May 27, 1963, and was taken to the Lewis County, Washington, jail. During his custody for the period through September 9, 1963, he was confined in one or more individual cell units which were extremely unsanitary and grimy and which lacked adequate facilities for drinking or washing.

 The following papers were submitted to the Lewis County Superior Court and ignored by that court until the petitioner had entered a plea of guilty on September 3, 1963: (a) May 28, 1963, petition for writ of habeas corpus; (b) May 28, 1963, motion for an immediate arraignment; (c) May 29, 1963, motion for trial by jury within 60 days; and (d) May 30, 1963, petition for writ of habeas corpus.

 On June 3, 1963, the jailers refused to allow the petitioner any further access to the courts by withdrawing his stationery and refusing to transmit his legal correspondence. In addition the petitioner was refused the right to have his attorney contacted and was refused the right to have visitors.

 On June 3, 1963, petitioner was taken before the Lewis County Superior Court for arraignment but the arraignment was continued in order that an attorney could be appointed to represent the petitioner. On June 17, 1963, he was again brought before the Lewis County Superior Court, at which time he was accompanied by counsel and pleaded "not guilty." Petitioner changed his plea to "guilty" on September 3, 1963, and was sentenced on September 9. The Lewis County Superior Court denied petitioner's motion for a free transcript and his motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis on December 4, 1963. That court ignored petitioner's motion for a rehearing on his motion for a free transcript and his motion for appointment of counsel to prosecute petitioner's appeal, both submitted on December 9, 1963.

 Petitions for writs of habeas corpus were denied by the Washington Supreme Court on January 20, 1964, in cause number 37333, and on October 8, 1964, in cause number 37324. A petition for a writ of habeas corpus was denied by the Walla Walla County Superior Court on May 28, 1964.

 Based upon the above allegations Mr. Stiltner asserts that he is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus from this Court and that he has exhausted his state court remedies.

 This Court has considered the pleadings and briefs filed by the petitioner and respondent in this case and, further, this Court has reviewed the entire record from the proceedings had before the Washington Supreme Court, including the transcript of the hearing held on February 21, 1964, as a result of an Order of Reference issued by that court. On the basis of the entire record before it this Court finds that additional hearings are not necessary and that the petition for writ of habeas corpus must be denied.

 The following issues raised by the petitioner have been considered by this Court, while all other issues have been considered but have been rejected as being without merit:

 1. A sentence under RCW 9.75.010 to not less than five years imprisonment, and under RCW 9.95.010 to not more than twenty years, is unconstitutional as not within the power of the court, and such a sentence is based on unconstitutional statutes.

 2. Petitioner's plea of guilty was involuntary.

 3. Petitioner was refused the right to confer with his attorney, to have visitors, and to contact the ...


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