653 F.2d 1010 (5th Cir. 1981), 80-3778, Grandberry v. Bonner

Docket Nº:80-3778.
Citation:653 F.2d 1010
Party Name:Roosevelt GRANDBERRY, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Jesse BONNER, Sheriff of Coahoma County, Mississippi, Respondent-Appellee.
Case Date:August 20, 1981
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 1010

653 F.2d 1010 (5th Cir. 1981)

Roosevelt GRANDBERRY, Petitioner-Appellant,


Jesse BONNER, Sheriff of Coahoma County, Mississippi,


No. 80-3778.

Unit A

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

August 20, 1981

Page 1011

Tyree Irving, Greenville, Miss., for petitioner-appellant.

Karen Gilfoy, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jackson, Miss., for respondent-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi.

Before RUBIN, RANDALL and TATE, Circuit Judges.

RANDALL, Circuit Judge:

On February 19, 1980, petitioner, Roosevelt Grandberry, filed a petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. In his petition, Grandberry alleged that he was being detained by Respondent Bonner pending a scheduled retrial on a murder charge and that this detention was unlawful because his first trial on this charge had ended when the trial judge, sua sponte, declared a mistrial in the absence of any manifest necessity for such action. Grandberry claimed that a retrial would, therefore, place him twice in jeopardy for the same offense in violation of the constitutional prohibition of double jeopardy.

The district court, after finding that Grandberry had exhausted all available state remedies, considered his petition on the merits and denied habeas relief. After reviewing the record of the events which prompted the declaration of a mistrial at Grandberry's first trial, we have concluded that the district court erred in determining that these circumstances constituted manifest necessity for a mistrial. Therefore, we reverse and order that the writ issue.


Grandberry's first trial on the murder charge began on February 11, 1980 in the Circuit Court of Coahoma County, Mississippi. The following evening at approximately 9:00 p. m., the case was submitted to the jury, which had been sequestered during the trial. After deliberating for approximately

Page 1012

two hours, the jury indicated to the bailiff that they were as yet unable to reach a verdict. The trial judge then conferred with the district attorney and Grandberry's counsel in chambers. In the course of this conference, the trial judge proposed to inquire of the jury whether further deliberations on the following day would be helpful. Neither party objected to this proposal, however, Grandberry's counsel emphasized that: "(i)t is just our understanding that you are going to inquire as to whether or not coming back in the morning will aid them." The court replied "... I don't intend to release them, of course."

The court then reconvened, the jury returned to the courtroom and the following colloquy occurred:

BY THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you been able to agree on a verdict?

(Jurors shake heads to the left and right.)

BY THE COURT: Will someone speak up?

BY A BLACK, FEMALE JUROR: No, sir. We have not.

BY THE COURT: You have not been able to agree on a verdict?

BY THE SAME JUROR: No, sir, not at this time.

BY THE COURT: I realize that it has been a long period of time.... I will ask you is it the opinion of the jury that you are hopelessly deadlocked, or do you feel that if the Court permitted you to recess and to stay overnight and reconvene your deliberations tomorrow morning, if that would be any help to you in your deliberations?

BY THE SAME FEMALE JUROR: Yes, sir, it would be. I think we need to stay overnight.

BY THE COURT: All right, Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as I stated, I realize it has been a long time for you. In view of the announcement that has been made, the Court will very shortly return you to the jury room and will direct that you recess from your deliberations....

Shortly thereafter, the bailiff reported to the trial judge that one of the jurors was ill. Petitioner, his attorneys and the assistant district attorney then returned to the courtroom where the trial judge questioned one of the jurors, Roosevelt Noah, about his condition. The exchange between the court and Mr. Noah formed the predicate for the declaration of a mistrial, therefore, we think it important to relate it in full.

BY THE COURT: ... Has a juror reported ill?


BY THE COURT: And this is Mr. Roosevelt Noah?

BY MR. NOAH: Yes, sir.

BY THE COURT: Mr. Noah, it is necessary for the Court to know if you in your own opinion are ill to the extent that you need medical treatment or that you would not be able to participate in further deliberations.

BY MR. NOAH: Well, Your Honor, I just need my high blood pressure pills and I will be okay.

BY THE COURT: The Court cannot be sending a doctor for you and such as that. I don't know where your pills are. I assume that you sent for your medicine last...

To continue reading