547 N.E.2d 124 (Ill. 1989), 63771, People v. Holman

Docket Nº:63771.
Citation:547 N.E.2d 124, 132 Ill.2d 128, 138 Ill.Dec. 155
Party Name:The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Tafford HOLMAN, Appellant.
Case Date:October 25, 1989
Court:Supreme Court of Illinois
 
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Page 124

547 N.E.2d 124 (Ill. 1989)

132 Ill.2d 128, 138 Ill.Dec. 155

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,

v.

Tafford HOLMAN, Appellant.

No. 63771.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

October 25, 1989.

Rehearing Denied Dec. 4, 1989.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[132 Ill.2d 138] [138 Ill.Dec. 157] G. Joseph Weller, Deputy Defender, Paul J. Glaser, Asst. Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Elgin, for appellant.

Neil F. Hartigan, Atty. Gen., Springfield (Robert J. Ruiz, Solicitor Gen., Terence M. Madsen and William P. Pistorius, Asst. Attys. Gen., Chicago, of counsel), for people.

Justice CLARK delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, Tafford Holman, was convicted in the circuit court of Will County of felony murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1979, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(3)), intentional murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1979, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(1)), armed violence (Ill.Rev.Stat.1979, ch. 38, par. 33A-2) and home invasion (Ill.Rev.Stat.1979, ch. 38, par. 12-11(a)(1)). Defendant was sentenced to death for the felony murder [132 Ill.2d 139] conviction, to 60 years' imprisonment for the intentional murder conviction, and to 40 years' imprisonment for the armed violence and home invasion convictions. This court affirmed certain of his convictions but vacated defendant's sentences and remanded to the circuit court of Will County for a new sentencing hearing. (People v. Holman (1984), 103 Ill.2d 133, 82 Ill.Dec. 585,

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[138 Ill.Dec. 158] 469 N.E.2d 119.) The specific facts concerning defendant's convictions and previous sentences are set forth in detail in that opinion and will not be repeated except where necessary to the issues discussed herein.

At the resentencing hearing, a jury found defendant eligible for the death penalty based on the presence of the statutory aggravating factor that the murder had been committed during the course of an armed robbery (Ill.Rev.Stat.1979, ch. 38, par. 9-1(b)). The jury also found no mitigating circumstances sufficient to preclude imposition of the death penalty (Ill.Rev.Stat.1979, ch. 38, par. 9-1(c)). On May 8, 1986, the trial court judge sentenced defendant to die by lethal injection for the felony murder conviction and to concurrent terms of 30 years each for the armed violence and home invasion convictions. The death sentence was stayed (107 Ill.2d R. 609) pending direct appeal to this court (Ill. Const.1970, art. VI, § 4(b); 107 Ill.2d R. 603). In light of the United States Supreme Court's decisions in Batson v. Kentucky (1986), 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69, and Griffith v. Kentucky (1987), 479 U.S. 314, 107 S.Ct. 708, 93 L.Ed.2d 649, this court, on October 26, 1987, remanded the case to the circuit court of Will County to conduct a hearing on defendant's claim that the State unconstitutionally discriminated against blacks in its exercise of peremptory challenges. This court subsequently entered an order clarifying that the October 26, 1987, order applied only to the State's use of peremptory challenges at the resentencing hearing, not to [132 Ill.2d 140] the State's use of peremptory challenges at defendant's trial.

Defendant argues on appeal that his convictions in this case should be reversed because the State improperly excluded blacks from serving on the jury at his original trial. Defendant also argues that he was denied a fair sentencing hearing on remand because: (1) the jury at the resentencing hearing was unfairly selected because biased venirepersons were not properly excused for cause; (2) a comment by the sentencing court judge at the start of the resentencing hearing unfairly swayed the jury in favor of the State; (3) the introduction and use of defendant's prior uncounseled juvenile delinquency adjudication constituted error; (4) defendant was unfairly denied the right to present evidence in mitigation; (5) certain testimony was erroneously admitted; and (6) defendant was denied effective assistance of counsel at the resentencing hearing. Defendant also argues: (1) that the death sentence is an excessive penalty in this case and (2) that the Illinois death penalty statute is unconstitutional. Finally, defendant claims that the sentencing court judge erred at the Batson hearing conducted on remand in concluding that defendant failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination by the State in its use of peremptory challenges. Defendant does not challenge the sentences imposed on him by the sentencing court for his armed violence and home invasion convictions.

Defendant's first contention is that the State unconstitutionally exercised its peremptory challenges to exclude blacks from the jury at his original trial. As a result, defendant argues that we should remand this case to the trial court to conduct a hearing on defendant's claim in accordance with the United States Supreme Court's decision in Batson v. Kentucky (1986), 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69. We note [132 Ill.2d 141] that defendant first raised the issue of the State's allegedly discriminatory use of peremptory challenges in his initial appeal to this court. However, this court did not address the issue in its initial opinion in this case. (People v. Holman (1984), 103 Ill.2d 133, 82 Ill.Dec. 585, 469 N.E.2d 119.) We therefore address it here.

In Batson, the Supreme Court held for the first time "that a defendant may establish a prima facie case of purposeful discrimination in selection of the petit jury solely on evidence concerning the prosecutor's exercise of peremptory challenges at the defendant's trial." (Batson, 476 U.S. at 96, 106 S.Ct. at 1722-23, 90 L.Ed.2d at 87.) Prior to Batson, a defendant could only establish a prima facie case of discrimination by showing that the State had engaged in a pattern of excluding blacks from juries in a series of cases. See Swain

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[138 Ill.Dec. 159] v. Alabama (1965), 380 U.S. 202, 227, 85 S.Ct. 824, 839, 13 L.Ed.2d 759, 776.

In Allen v. Hardy (1986), 478 U.S. 255, 258, 106 S.Ct. 2878, 2879-80, 92 L.Ed.2d 199, 204, the Court held that "Batson should not be applied retroactively on collateral review of convictions that became final before [the Court's] opinion was announced." However, in Griffith v. Kentucky (1987), 479 U.S. 314, 328, 107 S.Ct. 708, 716, 93 L.Ed.2d 649, 661, the Court held that the rule announced in Batson should apply retroactively to all cases which had been pending on direct review or were not yet final at the time Batson was decided. The Court stated that the term "final" meant "a case in which a judgment of conviction has been rendered, the availability of appeal exhausted, and the time for a petition for certiorari elapsed or a petition for certiorari finally denied." (Griffith, 479 U.S. at 321 n. 6, 107 S.Ct. at 712 n. 6, 93 L.Ed.2d at 657 n. 6.) Defendant argues that in light of the Court's decision in Griffith, this case should be remanded to the circuit court for a hearing in [132 Ill.2d 142] accordance with the rule announced in Batson. We disagree.

Defendant, citing the definitions of "conviction" and "judgment" that are set forth in the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill.Rev.Stat.1987, ch. 38, pars. 1005-1-1-5, 1005-1-12), argues that the circuit court's decision did not constitute a "conviction" until defendant was sentenced. Since this court vacated the sentences from the initial trial, defendant claims that there could not have been a "conviction" until a new sentence was imposed after the resentencing hearing which, defendant notes, occurred after Batson was decided.

The problem with this argument is that even if we assume, without deciding, that defendant's interpretation of the Unified Code of Corrections is correct, defendant fails to explain, and we perceive no reason, why the Unified Code of Corrections' definitions of "conviction" and "judgment" should apply here. Instead, we find it more appropriate in this case, as this court previously did in defendant's initial appeal (see Holman, 103 Ill.2d at 179, 82 Ill.Dec. 585, 469 N.E.2d 119), to consider the term "conviction" as meaning the finding that defendant was guilty of the crimes for which he was charged, and as being something separate and distinct from the term "sentence."

Applying the test set forth in Griffith, 479 U.S. at 321 n. 6, 107 S.Ct. at 712 n. 6, 93 L.Ed.2d at 657 n. 6, we find that the decision in Batson should not be applied in assessing whether the State discriminated against blacks in its use of peremptory challenges prior to defendant's initial trial. This court handed down its decision in defendant's direct appeal in 1984, almost two years before Batson was decided. In that initial decision, we explicitly affirmed his convictions of felony murder, armed violence and home invasion. (Holman, 103 Ill.2d at 179, 82 Ill.Dec. 585, 469 N.E.2d 119.) The United States Supreme Court subsequently finally denied defendant's petition for certiorari in April [132 Ill.2d 143] 1985, one year before Batson was decided. (Holman v. Illinois (1985), 471 U.S. 1050, 105 S.Ct. 2044, 85 L.Ed.2d 342.) Thus, although defendant could still collaterally attack his convictions through the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Ill.Rev.Stat.1987, ch. 38, par. 122-1 et seq.), or through a Federal habeas corpus proceeding (28 U.S.C. § 2254 (1982)), defendant had exhausted all avenues of direct appeal concerning his convictions of felony murder, armed violence and home invasion before Batson was decided. We therefore reject defendant's argument that this case should be remanded for a Batson hearing concerning the State's use of peremptory challenges at the original trial.

We next consider contentions raised as to the sentencing hearing on remand. Defendant first claims that the sentencing judge erred in refusing to excuse three venirepersons for cause. According to defendant, one venireperson should have been excluded for cause because his testimony during voir...

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