Document Type

Sheppard v. Maxwell, United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Civ. No. 6640


April 10, 1963

Case Title

Sheppard v. Maxwell, S.D. Ohio, Civil Action 6640

Box Number


Item Number



Violation of Constitutional Right to Counsel, Fair Impartial Trial


Sheppard exhausted his available state remedies as required by Title 28, USC, Section 2254. On May 31, 1956, the Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed his conviction, 165 0.S. 293; a petition for rehearing was denied on July 5, 1956. The Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari, 352 U.S. 910; a petition for rehearing was denied, 352 U.S. 955 . A petition for a writ of habeas corpus was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Ohio, 170 0.S. 551 (1958). Sheppard asserted there were no further avenues of revue open to him in the courts of Ohio, and any proceeding therein would be unavailing, for the Ohio courts generally are "so biased and prejudiced against him that he will be denied relief in any event."

The petition states that Ohio violated Sheppard's federal constitutional right to a fair and impartial trial, and more specifically his federal constitutional right to counsel. Sheppard's repeated motions for change of venue to a district or locale not saturated by the massive prejudicial and inflammatory publicity stimulated were likewise denied.

Claims of the petition focused on the personal influences of the local court judge, reelection publicity, and the local media's inflammatory published opinions amongst numerous incidents of abuse of power by government officials.

As a result of the facts and circumstances set forth, petitioner was denied a fair and impartial trial, and was further denied the equal protection of the laws of the state of Ohio; petitioner's trial was not a trial at all, but a sham proceeding conducted and controlled by persons of official responsibility whose primary purpose was to satisfy the populace which had been convinced by irresponsible news media that petitioner was guilty despite the marked lack of evidence tending to prove such guilt; petitioner was subjected to trial by newspaper, and was subjected specifically to the perverted power of the Cleveland Press, which sought to and did cause petitioner to be convicted in violation of his constitutional rights.



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