Jann Johnson

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In Stone v. Powell, the U.S. Supreme Court held that if a state "has provided an opportunity for full and fair litigation of a Fourth-Amendment claim, a state prisoner may not be granted federal habeas-corpus relief on the ground that evidence obtained in an unconstitutional search or seizure was introduced at trial."

Respondent Powell was convicted of second-degree murder in a California state court. A police officer had found the murder weapon on Powell during a search incident to his arrest for violation of a vagrancy ordinance, and the officer's testimony was admitted at trial over Powell's objection. Powell contended that the vagrancy ordinance was unconstitutionally vague; the arrest therefore was invalid, he contended, and so was the search incident to it. The California District Court of Appeal affirmed Powell's conviction, and the Supreme Court of California denied Powell's habeas-corpus petition. Powell then petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.A. §2254 and added to his state court objections the contention that the arresting officer lacked probable cause to believe he was violating the ordinance. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied Powell's petition. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed.