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Case Basics
Docket No. 
No. 74-1222
(Argued the cause for the respondent Rice)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner Wolff)
(By appointment of the Court, argued the cause for the respondent Powell)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner Stone)
Facts of the Case 

Lloyd Powell was convicted of murder by a California court. Powell sought relief in federal district court by filing a writ of federal habeas corpus. Powell claimed that the search that uncovered the murder weapon was unlawful and that the evidence should have been inadmissible at trial. This case was decided together with Wolf v. Rice.


Were federal courts obligated to consider claims of illegal searches and seizures after such claims had been decided by state courts?

Decision: 6 votes for Stone, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 28 USC 2241-2255 (habeas corpus)

In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that where states had provided opportunities for full and fair litigation of Fourth Amendment claims, the Constitution did not require the granting of federal habeas corpus relief. The Court also held that any additional benefits from considering search and seizure claims of state prisoners on collateral review would be small in relation to the costs. The Court found that the Fourth Amendment values protected by the exclusionary rule would not be significantly enhanced in such situations and that deterrence of police misconduct was unlikely to increase.

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STONE v. POWELL. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <>.
STONE v. POWELL, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 26, 2015).
"STONE v. POWELL," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015,