Bad men, like good men, are entitled to be tried and sentenced in accordance with law, and when it is shown to us that a person is serving an illegal sentence our obligation is to direct that proper steps be taken to correct the wrong done, without regard to the character of a particular defendant or to the possible effect on others who might also want to challenge the legality of their sentences as they have the right to do ‘at any time’ under Rule 35. If it has any relevance at all, the fact that there may be other prisoners in this country’s jails serving illegal sentences would seem to me to make it all the more imperative that we grant appropriate relief in this case rather than search for some obviously dubious excuse to deny this petitioner’s claim.

Hugo Black (1886-1971) American politician and jurist, US Supreme Court Justice (1937-71)
Green v. United States, 365 U.S. 301, 309-310 (1961) – dissenting opinion
Added on 26-Sep-12 | Last updated 26-Sep-12
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