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Lane v. Williams

455 U.S. 624, 102 S. Ct. 1322, 71 L. Ed. 2d 508 (1982)

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Lane v. Williams

United States Supreme Court

455 U.S. 624, 102 S. Ct. 1322, 71 L. Ed. 2d 508 (1982)

Facts

In 1975, Williams (defendant) and Southall (defendant) pleaded guilty in Illinois state courts to burglary charges in unrelated cases. Both men were released on parole. Both men were returned to prison after courts determined that they violated parole by getting rearrested. During Williams’s and Southall’s parole-violation incarceration terms, each man filed a writ of habeas corpus in federal court, asserting that his sentence was illegal because he was not informed that Illinois sentencing law imposes a mandatory three-year parole term for burglary convictions. Williams sought an order freeing him from the warden’s present control and any future liability under his original burglary sentence. Southall sought immediate release from custody. The federal district court consolidated Williams’s and Southall’s petitions and granted both writs. In granting relief, the district court enforced specific performance of the plea bargains rather than reversing the guilty pleas and remanding the cases for new trials. The appellate court reversed the district court. The appellate court noted that although Williams’s sentence expired before the appellate court reached Williams’s appeal, Williams’s appeal was not moot. Southall’s parole term expired after the appellate court’s decision. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

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