Baker v. Missouri, No. 82-5632

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBRENNAN; MARSHALL
Citation103 S.Ct. 834,459 U.S. 1183,74 L.Ed.2d 1027
Docket NumberNo. 82-5632
Decision Date24 January 1983
PartiesRobert BAKER, petitioner, v. MISSOURI

459 U.S. 1183
103 S.Ct. 834
74 L.Ed.2d 1027
Robert BAKER, petitioner,

v.

MISSOURI

No. 82-5632

Supreme Court of the United States

January 24, 1983

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

The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice BRENNAN, dissenting.

Adhering to my views that the death penalty is in all circumstances cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, Gregg v. Georgia, 428

Page 1184

U.S. 153, 227, 96 S.Ct. 2909, 2950, 49 L.Ed.2d 859 (1976), I would grant certiorari and vacate the death sentence in this case.

Justice MARSHALL, dissenting from denial of certiorari.

I continue to adhere to my view that the death penalty is unconstitutional in all circumstances, and would grant certiorari and vacate petitioner's death sentence on this basis alone. However, even if I accepted the prevailing view that the death penalty can constitutionally be imposed under certain circumstances, I would grant certiorari and vacate the death sentence because the Missouri Supreme Court improperly upheld the sentence on the basis of an aggravating circumstance that had never been considered by the sentencer.

I

Petitioner Robert Baker was convicted of capital murder in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. The victim, a police officer assigned as an undercover agent, was dressed in street clothes at the time of the shooting. When his body was discovered in the front seat of his unmarked police car, his police badge was in his wallet.

At the sentencing stage, the jury was instructed that it may impose the death penalty if it found that the murder "was committed against a peace officer while engaged in the performance of his official duty." 1 The jury was not instructed that it also had to find that petitioner knew or should have known that the victim was a police officer. The jury imposed the sentence of death solely on the basis of this aggravating circumstance.2

The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and the death sentence, with two judges dissenting. 636 S.W.

Page 1185

2d 902 (1982). The majority held that based on its review of the record "[t]he evidence was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to find beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant knew [the victim] was a police officer. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979)." 636 S.W.2d, at 907. It therefore "decline[d] to address the inscrutable question of mens rea." 636 S.W.2d 902, 907 (1982), citing Morissette v. United States, 342 U.S. 246, 72 S.Ct. 240, 96 L.Ed. 288 (1952); Powell v. Texas, 392 U.S. 514, 88 S.Ct. 2145, 20 L.Ed.2d 1254 (1968).

II

The Missouri Supreme Court improperly affirmed the death sentence on a ground neither presented to nor found by the sentencing jury. The jury instruction authorized the imposition of the death sentence on the basis of a bare finding that the victim was a police officer on duty. The jury clearly did not base its imposition of the death sentence on a finding that petitioner knew or should have known the identity of his victim. In affirming the death sentence on the ground that there was sufficient evidence for a rational finder to find that petitioner had the requisite knowledge, the Missouri Supreme Court improperly relied on Jackson v. Virginia, which established a test for reviewing findings actually made, to "affirm" a finding that was not made.3

"Fundamental principles of procedural fairness" prohibit a reviewing court from affirming a death sentence on the basis of an aggravating circumstance not properly found by the sentencing jury. Presnell v. Georgia, 439 U.S. 14, 16,

Page 1186

99 S.Ct. 235, 236, 58 L.Ed.2d 207 (1978).4 As Mr. Justice Black stated for a unanimous Court in Cole v. Arkansas, 333 U.S. 196, 202, 68 S.Ct. 514, 517, 92 L.Ed. 644 (1948), "[t]o conform to due process of law, petitioners were entitled to have the validity of their convictions appraised on consideration of the case as it was tried and as the issues were determined in the trial court." We have stated that this principle applies "with no less force at the penalty phase of a trial in a capital case than [it does] in the guilt-determining phase of any criminal trial." Presnell v. Georgia, supra, 439 U.S. at 16, 99 S.Ct., at 236.

Moreover, the death sentence in this case may not be upheld on the ground that it was properly imposed in the absence of a finding that petitioner knew or should have known the identity of his victim. If the Missouri statute does not require knowledge as an element of the aggravating circumstance charged in this case, its application in this case would violate the Constitution.

Petitioner received the death sentence...

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63 practice notes
  • State v. Battle, No. 63436
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 22, 1983
    ...substantial evidence. State v. Boggs, 634 S.W.2d 447, 453 (Mo. banc 1982); State v. Baker, 636 S.W.2d 902 (Mo. banc 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1183, 103 S.Ct. 834, 74 L.Ed.2d 1027 On the record in this case we find no error in the admission of the cassette tape and video tape. The testim......
  • State v. Mallett, No. 68030
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 16, 1987
    ...first degree murder of a white law enforcement or corrections officer. See State v. Baker, 636 S.W.2d 902 (Mo. banc 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1183, 103 S.Ct. 834, 74 L.Ed.2d 1027 (1983); State v. Shaw, 636 S.W.2d 667 (Mo. banc), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 928, 103 S.Ct. 239, 74 L.Ed.2d 188 ......
  • US v. Young & Rubicam, Inc., Crim. No. N-89-68 (PCD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • February 7, 1990
    ...by labor statutes, despite overlap in coverage); United States v. Hartley, 678 F.2d 961, 990 n. 50 (11th Cir.1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1183, 103 S.Ct. 834, 74 L.Ed.2d 1027 (1983) (mail fraud not precluded as RICO predicate where conduct could be prosecuted under False Claims Act); Stand......
  • Saville v. Houston County Healthcare Authority, Civ. A. No. 93-T-704-S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • May 12, 1994
    ...678 F.2d 961, 971 (11th Cir.1982) (collecting cases), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1170, 103 S.Ct. 815, 74 L.Ed.2d 1014, and cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1183, 103 S.Ct. 834, 74 L.Ed.2d 1027 (1983). In rejecting the intracorporate exception, the First Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that, "The cases emp......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
63 cases
  • State v. Battle, No. 63436
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 22, 1983
    ...substantial evidence. State v. Boggs, 634 S.W.2d 447, 453 (Mo. banc 1982); State v. Baker, 636 S.W.2d 902 (Mo. banc 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1183, 103 S.Ct. 834, 74 L.Ed.2d 1027 On the record in this case we find no error in the admission of the cassette tape and video tape. The testim......
  • State v. Mallett, No. 68030
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 16, 1987
    ...first degree murder of a white law enforcement or corrections officer. See State v. Baker, 636 S.W.2d 902 (Mo. banc 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1183, 103 S.Ct. 834, 74 L.Ed.2d 1027 (1983); State v. Shaw, 636 S.W.2d 667 (Mo. banc), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 928, 103 S.Ct. 239, 74 L.Ed.2d 188 ......
  • US v. Young & Rubicam, Inc., Crim. No. N-89-68 (PCD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • February 7, 1990
    ...by labor statutes, despite overlap in coverage); United States v. Hartley, 678 F.2d 961, 990 n. 50 (11th Cir.1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1183, 103 S.Ct. 834, 74 L.Ed.2d 1027 (1983) (mail fraud not precluded as RICO predicate where conduct could be prosecuted under False Claims Act); Stand......
  • Saville v. Houston County Healthcare Authority, Civ. A. No. 93-T-704-S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • May 12, 1994
    ...678 F.2d 961, 971 (11th Cir.1982) (collecting cases), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1170, 103 S.Ct. 815, 74 L.Ed.2d 1014, and cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1183, 103 S.Ct. 834, 74 L.Ed.2d 1027 (1983). In rejecting the intracorporate exception, the First Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that, "The cases emp......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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