Brown v. Wainwright, No. 80-6434

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMARSHALL
Citation454 U.S. 1000,102 S.Ct. 542,70 L.Ed.2d 407
PartiesJoseph Green BROWN et al. v. Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Secretary, Department of Corrections, Florida
Decision Date02 November 1981
Docket NumberNo. 80-6434

454 U.S. 1000
102 S.Ct. 542
70 L.Ed.2d 407
Joseph Green BROWN et al.

v.

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

No. 80-6434

Supreme Court of the United States

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 without notice to the appellant whose sentence the court was reviewing or to his attorney. To support these allegations, petitioners offered written re-

Page 1001

quests 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 regard to whether the information may benefit the particular appellant whose sentence is under review. The court accepted these allegations as true for the purposes of its decision but denied the petitions.

I believe that the Florida court's ex parte consideration of such nonrecord evaluative data relating to individual appellants during the court's review is questionable as a matter of due process and is inconsistent with this Court's past insistence on strict procedural regularity in the imposition and review of capital sentences. See Gardner v. Florida, 430 U.S. 349, 97 S.Ct. 1197, 51 L.Ed.2d 393 (1977). Moreover, much of the information appears to be inadmissible and unreliable hearsay, which petitioners should at...

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65 practice notes
  • Pulley v. Harris, No. 82-1095
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • January 23, 1984
    ...Supreme Court undertakes to provide proportionality review in every case, see Brown v. Wainwright, 392 So.2d 1327 (Fla.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1000, 102 S.Ct. 542, 70 L.Ed.2d 407 (1981), Justice STEVENS says that that has not always been its practice, citing a long list of cases in which ......
  • Goode v. Wainwright, No. 82-5244
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • May 2, 1983
    ...their convictions and death sentences. The Florida Supreme Court denied relief. Brown v. Wainwright, 392 So.2d 1327 (Fla.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1000, 102 S.Ct. 542, 70 L.Ed.2d 407 (1981). Goode then filed another habeas action in the Florida Supreme Court, alleging ineffective assistance......
  • Johnson v. Singletary, No. 89-3195
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • July 25, 1991
    ...concerning capital defendants. The Supreme Court of Florida denied relief. Brown v. Wainwright, 392 So.2d 1327 (Fla.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1000, 102 S.Ct. 542, 70 L.Ed.2d 407 5 The court held that the trial judge erred in finding an aggravating circumstance based upon Johnson having crea......
  • Glock v. Singletary, No. 91-3528
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • September 8, 1995
    ...be noted, involves weighing or reevaluating the evidence adduced to establish aggravating and mitigating circumstances."), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1000, 102 S.Ct. 542, 70 L.Ed.2d 407 (1981); see also Parker v. Dugger, 498 U.S. 308, 319, 111 S.Ct. 731, 738, 112 L.Ed.2d 812 (1991) ("[T]he Flor......
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65 cases
  • Pulley v. Harris, No. 82-1095
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • January 23, 1984
    ...Supreme Court undertakes to provide proportionality review in every case, see Brown v. Wainwright, 392 So.2d 1327 (Fla.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1000, 102 S.Ct. 542, 70 L.Ed.2d 407 (1981), Justice STEVENS says that that has not always been its practice, citing a long list of cases in which ......
  • Goode v. Wainwright, No. 82-5244
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • May 2, 1983
    ...their convictions and death sentences. The Florida Supreme Court denied relief. Brown v. Wainwright, 392 So.2d 1327 (Fla.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1000, 102 S.Ct. 542, 70 L.Ed.2d 407 (1981). Goode then filed another habeas action in the Florida Supreme Court, alleging ineffective assistance......
  • Johnson v. Singletary, No. 89-3195
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • July 25, 1991
    ...concerning capital defendants. The Supreme Court of Florida denied relief. Brown v. Wainwright, 392 So.2d 1327 (Fla.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1000, 102 S.Ct. 542, 70 L.Ed.2d 407 5 The court held that the trial judge erred in finding an aggravating circumstance based upon Johnson having crea......
  • Glock v. Singletary, No. 91-3528
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • September 8, 1995
    ...be noted, involves weighing or reevaluating the evidence adduced to establish aggravating and mitigating circumstances."), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1000, 102 S.Ct. 542, 70 L.Ed.2d 407 (1981); see also Parker v. Dugger, 498 U.S. 308, 319, 111 S.Ct. 731, 738, 112 L.Ed.2d 812 (1991) ("[T]he Flor......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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