454 U.S. 1000 (1981), 80-6434, Brown v. Wainwright

Docket Nº:No. 80-6434
Citation:454 U.S. 1000, 102 S.Ct. 542, 70 L.Ed.2d 407
Party Name:Joseph Green BROWN et al. v. Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Secretary, Department of Corrections, Florida
Case Date:November 02, 1981
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 1000

454 U.S. 1000 (1981)

102 S.Ct. 542, 70 L.Ed.2d 407

Joseph Green BROWN et al.


Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Secretary, Department of Corrections, Florida

No. 80-6434

United States Supreme Court.

November 2, 1981


On petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Florida.

The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice MARSHALL, with whom Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting.

I continue to believe that in all circumstances the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 231, 96 S.Ct. 2909, 2973, 49 L.Ed.2d 895 (1976). However, I dissent from the denial of certiorari in this case on the additional ground that the Florida Supreme Court practice challenged by petitioners is questionable under prior precedents of this Court and deserves plenary consideration.

Petitioner Brown and 122 other Florida inmates sentenced to death brought original petitions for writs of habeas corpus in the Florida Supreme Court, 392 So.2d 1327, alleging that since 1975, the Florida Supreme Court has

"engaged in the continuing practice of requesting and receiving information concerning capital appellants which was not presented at trial and not a part of the trial record or record on appeal. The information includes ... pre-sentence investigation reports concerning the capital offense under review or prior convictions unrelated to the capital offense; psychiatric evaluations or contact notes [made in the correctional system after conviction]; psychological screening reports; recitations of a capital defendant's refusal to submit to a psychiatric examination from which a report could be prepared; post-sentence investigation reports; probation or parole violation reports; and state prison classification and admissions summaries." App. to Pet. for Cert. 2c-3c.

With rare exceptions, the State Supreme Court allegedly received this information [102 S.Ct. 543] without notice to the appellant whose sentence the court was reviewing or to his attorney. To support these allegations, petitioners offered written requests

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by the Court Clerk to correctional officials requesting such information, and letters of transmittal from these officials. Petitioners also suggest that this kind of information may have been received in some cases but not others, thus skewing the appellate process without...

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