Elroy v. Holloway, No. 80-1637

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtREHNQUIST
Citation101 S.Ct. 3019,451 U.S. 1028,69 L.Ed.2d 398
PartiesClay E. McELROY, Warden v. M. W. HOLLOWAY
Docket NumberNo. 80-1637
Decision Date26 May 1981

451 U.S. 1028
101 S.Ct. 3019
69 L.Ed.2d 398
Clay E. McELROY, Warden

v.

M. W. HOLLOWAY

No. 80-1637

Supreme Court of the United States

May 26, 1981

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice REHNQUIST, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE joins, dissenting.

Perhaps the tersest summary of the reasons I would grant certiorari in this case is contained in the "black letter" heading of Part II, section B, subsection 4 of the opinion of the Court of Appeals: "Where the states are left after Winship, Mullaney, and Patterson." 5 Cir., 632 F.2d 605, 624. The opinion of that court, which comprises 79 printed pages of the appendix to the petition for certiorari here, suggests that the answer is not crystal clear, even to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit whose judgment we are asked to review.

Mullaney v. Wilbur, 421 U.S. 684, 95 S.Ct. 1881, 44 L.Ed.2d 508 (1975), established that a State must prove every element of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt. It is equally well established, however, that state legislatures and state courts, not federal judges, define the elements of a state criminal offense. Id., at 691, 95 S.Ct., at 1886. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in this case followed the former rule but not the latter and, on the strength of this possible error, ordered released from prison a person convicted of voluntary manslaughter whose conviction had been affirmed on direct appeal and state habeas corpus. Because I believe that it is for Georgia, and not the Court of

Page 1029

Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, to define the elements of the crime of voluntary manslaughter, under Georgia law, I would grant plenary consideration.

Respondent Holloway was tried before a Georgia jury for murder and convicted of the lesser included offense of voluntary manslaughter. Under Georgia law, "[a] person commits murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being." Ga.Code § 26-1101(a) (1978). Voluntary manslaughter is defined as causing the death of another human being under circumstances which would otherwise be murder if the killer "acts solely as the result of a sudden, violent, and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation sufficient to excite such passion in a reasonable person." § 26-1102. Respondent admitted that he intentionally killed the victim but claimed that he acted in self-defense. Georgia law recognizes the defense of self-defense, § 26-902, and explicitly provides that a claim of self-defense "is an affirmative defense." § 26-907. The trial judge accordingly instructed the jury, without objection from respondent's counsel, that after the State had proved an intentional homicide "the burden is on the slayer" to show that the killing was justified, in this case, by self-defense....

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86 practice notes
  • People v. Boyes, Cr. 23632
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 14, 1983
    ...with the prosecution. (Tennon v. Ricketts (5th Cir.1981) 642 F.2d 161; Holloway v. McElroy (5th Cir.1980) 632 F.2d 605, cert. den., 451 U.S. 1028, 101 S.Ct. 3019, 69 L.Ed.2d 398; Wynn v. Mahoney (4th Cir.1979) 600 F.2d 448, cert. den., 444 U.S. 950, 100 S.Ct. 423, 62 L.Ed.2d 320.) 2 However......
  • State v. McCullum, No. 47766-3
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • January 6, 1983
    ...cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1035, 101 S.Ct. 611, 66 L.Ed.2d 497 (1980). Holloway v. McElroy, 632 F.2d 605, 635 (5th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 1028, 101 S.Ct. 3019, 69 L.Ed.2d 398 The State bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the absence of a defense if the absence of su......
  • Collins v. Francis, No. 83-8097
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • March 15, 1984
    ...doubt. See Lamb v. Jernigan, 683 F.2d 1332, 1334 (11th Cir.1982); Holloway v. McElroy, 632 F.2d 605, 618 (5th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 1028, 101 S.Ct. 3019, 69 L.Ed.2d 398 An instruction is harmless when it "shifts the burden on an element that is not at issue in the trial ...." La......
  • Stephens v. Kemp, No. 84-8540
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • April 22, 1988
    ...cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1016, 103 S.Ct. 1260, 75 L.Ed.2d 487 (1983); Holloway v. McElroy, 632 F.2d 605 (5th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 1028, 101 S.Ct. 3019, 69 L.Ed.2d 398 (1981). Our cases establish clearly that the charge given in this case did not impermissibly shift the burden of ......
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86 cases
  • People v. Boyes, Cr. 23632
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 14, 1983
    ...with the prosecution. (Tennon v. Ricketts (5th Cir.1981) 642 F.2d 161; Holloway v. McElroy (5th Cir.1980) 632 F.2d 605, cert. den., 451 U.S. 1028, 101 S.Ct. 3019, 69 L.Ed.2d 398; Wynn v. Mahoney (4th Cir.1979) 600 F.2d 448, cert. den., 444 U.S. 950, 100 S.Ct. 423, 62 L.Ed.2d 320.) 2 However......
  • State v. McCullum, No. 47766-3
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • January 6, 1983
    ...cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1035, 101 S.Ct. 611, 66 L.Ed.2d 497 (1980). Holloway v. McElroy, 632 F.2d 605, 635 (5th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 1028, 101 S.Ct. 3019, 69 L.Ed.2d 398 The State bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the absence of a defense if the absence of su......
  • Collins v. Francis, No. 83-8097
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • March 15, 1984
    ...doubt. See Lamb v. Jernigan, 683 F.2d 1332, 1334 (11th Cir.1982); Holloway v. McElroy, 632 F.2d 605, 618 (5th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 1028, 101 S.Ct. 3019, 69 L.Ed.2d 398 An instruction is harmless when it "shifts the burden on an element that is not at issue in the trial ...." La......
  • Stephens v. Kemp, No. 84-8540
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • April 22, 1988
    ...cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1016, 103 S.Ct. 1260, 75 L.Ed.2d 487 (1983); Holloway v. McElroy, 632 F.2d 605 (5th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 1028, 101 S.Ct. 3019, 69 L.Ed.2d 398 (1981). Our cases establish clearly that the charge given in this case did not impermissibly shift the burden of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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