Demps v. State, 64787

Decision Date20 December 1984
Docket NumberNo. 64787,64787
Parties10 Fla. L. Weekly 22 Bennie DEMPS, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

John L. Carroll of Mandell and Boyd, Montgomery, Ala., for appellant.

Jim Smith, Atty. Gen., and Gregory C. Smith, Asst. Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, for appellee.


Demps appeals the denial of his rule 3.850 motion following an evidentiary hearing on his claim that the state interfered with a defense witness. We have jurisdiction pursuant to article V, section 3(b)(1), Florida Constitution, and we affirm the trial court.

Demps was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death for killing Alfred Sturgis, a fellow inmate at Florida State Prison. We affirmed the conviction and sentence. Demps v. State, 395 So.2d 501 (Fla.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 933, 102 S.Ct. 430, 70 L.Ed.2d 239 (1981). The Governor signed his death warrant, and his execution was scheduled for June 29, 1982. Demps filed a motion for post-conviction relief, which was denied without hearing by the trial court. He appealed that denial and sought a stay of execution here. We affirmed the trial court's denial of relief on all of Demps' claims except the claim that the state interfered with a defense witness. We reversed and remanded to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing on that issue. We granted a stay of execution pending disposition of the issue. Demps v. State, 416 So.2d 808 (Fla.1982).

Demps sought to demonstrate at the hearing that the state, through Department of Corrections Investigator Bill Beardsley, induced Michael Squires not to testify that the state's central witness, Larry Hathaway, had told Squires that he was pressured to testify and that he did not know who killed Sturgis. The defense put on numerous witnesses, including Squires. Larry Hathaway testified for the state that his testimony at trial had been truthful and that he had not told Squires that he knew nothing about the Demps case or that he was pressured by the state. The trial court denied the defense motion, stating:

Having heard the testimony of the witnesses and having observed the demeanor of each witness while testifying, and further having examined all exhibits filed in evidence, this court, with full and conscious realization of the significance and magnitude of the issues raised herein, finds that the Defendant has failed to prove his claim by any believable evidence.

The trial court's order is supported by competent substantial evidence, and this Court will not "substitute its judgment for that of the trial court on questions of fact, likewise of the credibility of the witnesses as well as the weight to be given to the evidence by the trial court." Goldfarb v. Robertson, 82 So.2d 504, 506 (Fla.1955) (citation omitted).


To continue reading

Request your trial
72 cases
  • Pittman v. Sec'y
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Florida
    • 20 Febrero 2015 the weight to be given to the evidence by the trial court," Blanco v. State, 702 So.2d 1250, 1252 (Fla. 1997)(quoting Demps v. State, 462 So.2d 1074, 1075 (Fla. 1984)), but the court's application of law to facts is subject to de novo review. Preston v. State, 970 So.2d 789, 798 (Fla. 20......
  • Demps v. Dugger
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • 28 Marzo 1989
    ...(1982). The trial court conducted a hearing and again denied the petitioner's motion. The denial was affirmed on appeal. Demps v. State, 462 So.2d 1074 (Fla.1984). On March 28, 1985, Demps filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal district court raising six grounds for relief.......
  • Taylor v. Sec'y
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Florida
    • 1 Junio 2011
    ...Windom v. State, 886 So. 2d 915, 921 (Fla. 2004)); see also Blanco v State, 702 So. 2d 1250, 1252 (Fla. 1997) (citing Demps v. State, 462 So. 2d 1074, 1075 (Fla. 1984)). In essence, the postconviction court concluded that, at trial, Dr. Miller testified that the lacerations were not, within......
  • McCloud v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 17 Noviembre 2016 be given to the evidence by the trial court.’ " Blanco v. State, 702 So.2d 1250, 1252 (Fla.1997) (quoting 208 So.3d 676Demps v. State, 462 So.2d 1074, 1075 (Fla.1984) ); accord Cox v. State, 966 So.2d 337, 357–58 (Fla.2007) ; Parlee v. State, 899 So.2d 458, 460 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005). Inasm......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT