OCTOBER TERM, 1991
on petition for writ of mandamus
No. 91-716. Decided January 13, 1992
Charles Campbell was convicted in Washington state court of multiple murders in 1982. After his second federal habeas petition was filed and denied by the District Court in March 1989, the Court of Appeals granted an indefinite stay of execution. The case was argued and submitted to the Court of Appeals in June 1989, but no decision has been announced and the stay remains in effect. In 1990, the State Attorney General twice wrote letters to the court inquiring about the status of the case, but they went unanswered. In February 1991, the court vacated the submission of the case pending the outcome of Campbell's third state action for collateral relief. After that relief was denied, Campbell advised the court that he intended to file a third federal habeas petition. In August 1991, over two years after the case was submitted, the panel directed him to file the third petition and announced its intention to wait for the District Court's ruling on it before taking further action. The State Attorney General filed this mandamus petition.
Held: This Court declines to issue mandamus to the Court of Appeals at this time. The grant of a stay of execution directed to a State by a federal court imposes on that court the concomitant duty to take all steps necessary to ensure a prompt resolution of the matter, and the State has sustained severe prejudice by the 21/2-year stay of execution. Nonetheless, as a predicate for extraordinary relief, the State should have asked the Court of Appeals to vacate or modify its August 1991 order before coming to this Court. The Court of Appeals should determine how best to expedite the appeal, given the present posture of the case. Denial of the writ is without prejudice to the State's right to again seek mandamus or other extraordinary relief if unnecessary delays or unwarranted stays occur in the panel's disposition of the matter.
The Court has before it a petition from the State of Washington for a writ of mandamus to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The petition seeks an order directing thePage: Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next
Last modified: October 4, 2007