Nothing we write, no matter how well reasoned or forcefully expressed, can bring back the victim of this tragedy or undo the consequences of the official neglect which led to the respondent’s escape from a state mental institution. The emotional aspects of the case make it difficult to decide dispassionately, but do not qualify our obligation to apply the law with an eye to the future in the particular case before us.
—Justice John Paul Stevens 1
The State of Iowa decided to exercise the option of asking the Supreme Court to review the ruling of the Eighth Circuit of the Court of Appeals. Its petition for writ of certiorari was filed at the Supreme Court on April 7, 1983. In its petition the State of Iowa gave three reasons as to why the Supreme Court should grant review. The first of Iowa’s concerns was that federal courts should be more respectful and deferential to the decisions of state courts. Iowa believed this was especially necessary in this case because the court of appeals had decided the case on an issue which had not been properly presented before the court. That issue was whether Williams’s incriminating statements had resulted from a lack of good faith on the part of the police. Iowa believed that it was inappropriate for the court of appeals to overrule the Iowa Supreme Court on this issue, especially since there had been no evidentiary hearing on the issue. Iowa’s petition also argued that it was necessary for the Supreme Court to grant review of this case to clarify