Garlotte v. Fordice

515 U.S. 39 (1995)

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Garlotte v. Fordice

United States Supreme Court
515 U.S. 39 (1995)

AR

Facts

Harvey Garlotte (defendant) pleaded guilty in Mississippi state court to one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and two counts of murder. The court imposed a three-year sentence for the possession count first, then consecutive life sentences for the murder counts. Over the next three years, Garlotte unsuccessfully challenged his marijuana conviction. Garlotte then filed a habeas corpus petition in federal district court. By this time, Garlotte had completed his marijuana sentence and was serving his murder sentences. The district court dismissed Garlotte’s petition on its merits. Garlotte appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The state (plaintiff) argued for the first time that the federal appeals court did not have jurisdiction over Garlotte’s petition, because he was no longer in custody under his marijuana conviction. Garlotte responded that the marijuana conviction postponed his parole eligibility, so he remained in custody for habeas purposes until he had served all three of his sentences. The appeals court ruled in the state’s favor, and Garlotte appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

Dissent (Thomas, J.)

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