Friday, November 15, 2013

Carchman v. Nash case brief

Carchman v. Nash case brief summary
473 U.S. 716 (1985)

Petitioner State of New Jersey sought review of a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that affirmed the grant of habeas corpus relief to respondent prisoner, the petitioner in the prior habeas proceeding.

The prisoner argued that the state's failure to resolve a probation-violation charge that was lodged against him as a detainer within 180 days after he requested final disposition of the charge, violated Article III of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, adopted and codified by the state as N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:159A-1 et seq. (1971).

  • The Court held that a detainer based on a probation-violation charge was not a detainer within the meaning of Article III. 
  • The plain language and legislative history of the statute indicated that Article III was intended to apply solely to criminal charges. 
  • A probation-violation charge did not accuse an individual of having committed a criminal offense in the sense of initiating a prosecution, so it did not come within the terms of Article III. 
  • In addition, the broader purposes of the statute that applied to criminal-charge detainers did not apply in the probation-violation detainer context. 
  • There was no danger of the underlying conviction being unsubstantiated, the uncertainties in the likelihood of receiving an additional sentence were less, and the possibility that long delay would impair the prisoner's ability to defend himself was unlikely.

The decision that upheld the order that granted respondent's request for a writ of habeas corpus, vacated the state's probation revocation, and directed respondent's release from custody was reversed because Article III of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers did not apply to probation-violation detainers.

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