From our private database of 33,800+ case briefs...
McCleskey v. Zant
United States Supreme Court
499 U.S. 467 (1991)
In 1978, Warren McCleskey (defendant) was sentenced to death for the murder of an off-duty policeman during a store robbery. McCleskey confessed to police that he participated in the robbery but presented an alibi defense at trial. Jailhouse informant Offie Evans testified that McCleskey bragged about the murder. Courts ultimately rejected McCleskey’s direct appeal, first state habeas petition, first federal habeas petition, and second state habeas petition. Finally, in 1987, McCleskey discovered a previously undisclosed 21-page statement that Evans gave police two weeks before McCleskey’s original trial that detailed Evans’s conversations with McCleskey and other information that Evans gathered about McCleskey. McCleskey filed a second federal habeas petition that raised a Massiah claim that the 21-page statement evidenced the police’s effort to induce McCleskey to make incriminating statements to Evans, violating McCleskey’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Importantly, McCleskey had previously raised a Massiah claim during his first state habeas petition, but not in his other habeas proceedings. The district court held evidentiary hearings to determine whether the state engineered Evans and McCleskey’s relationship. During the evidentiary hearings, McCleskey discovered Ulysses Worthy, a jailer who claimed that someone requested permission to move Evans to a cell near McCleskey’s cell. The federal district court found that a Massiah violation occurred and granted relief. The appellate court reversed, finding that McCleskey abused the writ of habeas corpus by raising his Massiah claim in a successive petition without justifying his failure to raise it during his first petition. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)
Dissent (Marshall, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 604,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 604,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 33,800 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.