Giles v. State

Decision Date18 July 1962
Docket NumberNo. 312,312
Citation229 Md. 370,183 A.2d 359
CourtMaryland Court of Appeals
PartiesJames V. GILES and John G. Giles v. STATE of Maryland.

Stedman Prescott, Jr., Silver Spring, Md., and Hal Witt, Washington, D. C., for appellants.

Edward L. Genn, Silver Spring, Lawrence Speiser, Charles A. Horsky and Richard S. Arnold, Washington, D. C., on the brief, for National Capital Area Civil Liberties Union and American Civil Liberties Union, amici curiae.

Robert C. Murphy, Asst. Atty. Gen., Baltimore (Thomas B. Finan, Atty. Gen., Baltimore, and Leonard T. Kardy, State's Atty. for Montgomery County, and James Cromwell, Asst. State's Atty. for Montgomery County, Rockville, on the brief), for appellee.


HORNEY, Judge.

James V. Giles and John G. Giles were found guilty by a jury of raping a sixteen-year old girl and were sentenced to death. From the judgment and sentence entered on the verdict they have appealed to this Court.

About midnight on July 20, 1961, Joyce Roberts and Stewart Foster and two other young men went to a secluded spot in Montgomery County near a dam on the Patuxent River to go swimming. But when other friends they were expecting did not appear, they started to leave and ran out of gas. Joyce and Stewart remained in the automobile while the other two young men set out to get gas.

Shortly thereafter when the stranded man and girl saw three young colored men (the Gileses and Joseph Johnson) approaching, Stewart became alarmed and rolled up the windows and locked the doors. The trio first demanded money and cigarettes, but were told by Stewart that he had neither. One of the intruders, using obscene and vulgar language, threatened to drag the man out of the automobile and carnally know the girl. And when Stewart refused to turn the girl over to them and warned them they would get into trouble, one or more of them threw rocks at the automobile, shattering the windows, and reached in and unlocked the doors. As Stewart jumped out of the automobile to hold off the attack he was struck in the face with a rock and knocked unconscious. At the same time Joyce, not knowing that Stewart had been knocked out, got out of the other side of the vehicle and fled into the woods. She had gone only a short distance when she tripped and fell. She remained where she fell in the underbrush trying to hide.

After this episode, the evidence as to what took place is conflicting. Joyce testified that the several acts of intercourse were forcibly had against her will and without her consent. On the other hand, John denied that he had ever had intercourse with the girl. And James, though admitting intercourse, claimed that it was with her consent.

According to the girl, John was the first to find her. He laid on top of her until James and Joseph also arrived. In the meantime she pleaded with John to let her go farther into the woods to avoid being found by the other two and told him that he could follow her later. She thought that if she could get away from him she could get away from all of them. After discovery by the trio, although they neither threatened her at that time nor beat her, they leaned over her and began kissing her, and one of them reached for the zipper on her shorts. She protested but was told 'either you do it or we will do it.' She thought it would be senseless to scream or struggle to get away, and, knowing that she was alone in the woods with three demonstrably violent young men and afraid for her life, she complied with their demand and removed her own shorts and laid them aside. She was then subjected to successive rapings, first by John, then Joseph, and finally James. During the final attack, she heard Stewart, who had regained consciousness, cry out that he was going for the police, but before she could call to him for help, she heard him running off.

According to John, he followed the girl into the woods, though he claimed he did not then know that she was a woman. Although she suggested that he could, he did not have intercourse with her. They sat in the woods five or ten minutes and kept quiet to avoid being found by James and Joseph. The girl told him that if he would help her get away, she would let him have intercourse with her. He attempted to help her by keeping quiet, but when they moved they were heard and their whereabouts discovered by the other two with the aid of the girl calling to them. She told them she knew what they wanted and disrobed herself to the waist and stipulated the order in which they were to have intercourse with her. [The girl told the police that John had not had intercourse with her and repeated what she had told the police at the preliminary hearing, but at the trial, though admitting that she had previously stated that he had not, she testified that she had not told the truth and that John too had had sexual relations with her on the night in question.]

According to James, he went into the woods only to look for his brother John and not for the girl. She called him over to where she was, took her clothes off and insisted that he have intercourse with her. He did not know whether John had had intercourse with the girl.

When Stewart regained consciousness, he heard Joyce 'whimpering' in the woods and immediately made his way to the home of a nearby resident to have the police called. Sergeant Alton Duvall arrived on the scene within a few minutes, and the young men fled. The police officer and Stewart found the girl lying on the ground, practically naked, sobbing and in a dezed condition. But when she was seen by the nearby resident as she came out of the woods, she appeared to him to be calm, cool and collected. A physical examination revealed that the girl had abrasions on her shoulders, knees and legs and that she had recently had sexual intercourse.

James, having spent the night hiding in the woods, was arrested at his home the next morning, but John, who had spent most of the intervening time hiding in the woods, was not apprehended until two or three days later. In statements to the police following their arrest, James admitted that he had thrown rocks at the automobile; that he had chased the girl into the woods; that he argued with his brother as to who would be first to have intercourse with her; that he had intercourse last, after John and Joseph; and that he was having intercourse with the girl when the police car arrived. John, in his statement, admitted his presence at the scene of the crime; that he had chased the girl into the woods; but denied that he had had intercourse with her.

Seven questions are presented by the appeal. We shall consider them, not in the order presented, but in what appears to us to be a logical sequence.


The appellants contend that it was prejudicial error per se and a violation of their constitutional rights not to have had a member of their own race on the jury panel. The claim is without merit.

The record discloses that the defendants, instead of challenging the array of prospective jurors at the outset of the trial, in accordance with the accepted practice, moved, at the very end of the trial, for a mistrial because there were no Negroes on the jury panel which tried the case. We think the objection may have come too late to raise a question as to the composition of the jury, but that is a question we need not decide, for even if it is assumed, without deciding, that the question was not waived, there was no evidence that Negroes had been intentionally excluded and, which is more important, there was no showing of any prejudice whatsoever to the defendants. Indeed, they concede it could not be shown that members of the Negro race had been systematically excluded from previous Montgomery County jury panels.

When the absence of Negroes from a jury panel is not by design, a defendant is not thereby denied a fair and impartial trial. See Jackson v. State, 180 Md. 658, 26 A.2d 815 (1942); Zimmerman v. State, 191 Md. 7, 59 A.2d 675 (1948), aff'd. 336 U.S. 901, 69 S.Ct. 469, 93 L.Ed. 1067 (1949). And cf. Rayne v. Warden, 223 Md. 688, 165 A.2d 474 (1960), cert. den. 365 U.S. 854, 81 S.Ct. 820, 5 L.Ed.2d 818 (1961). The subject was exhaustively discussed by Judge Soper in U. S. ex rel. Jackson v. Brady, 133 F.2d 476 (4th Cir. 1943), affirming 47 F.Supp. 362 (D.C.Md.1942), cert. den. 319 U.S. 746, 63 S.Ct. 1029, 87 L.Ed. 1702 (1943), reh. den. 319 U.S. 784, 63 S.Ct. 1315, 87 L.Ed. 1727 (1943), where it was held that a colored citizen charged with crime has no constitutional right to have his race represented on a trial jury and the mere fact that no Negroes were on a particular jury panel does not prove that they were excluded because of their race.


The appellants insist that the trial court should have asked the prospective jurors on their voir dire a question they requested: 'Have any one of you any bias or prejudice against a defendant who is a Negro, when the complaining witness is a white woman?' But instead of the proposed question, the court asked: 'Do you have any bias or prejudice with respect to the Negro race such as would preclude you from giving a Negro a fair and impartial trial as you would a white man?'

While the court might well have asked the proposed question, we do not think that failure to do so deprived the defendants of a jury that was competent and qualified to try them. Since the only purpose of a voir dire examination is to probe for the existence of cause for disqualification, we think the general question asked was sufficient to determine whether any juror was biased or prejudiced for or against the defendants and whether his mind was free to hear and impartially consider the evidence and render a fair and impartial verdict thereon. See Garlitz v. State, 71 Md. 293, 18 A. 39, 4 L.R.A. 601 (1889). Cf. Kujawa v. Baltimore Transit Co., 224 Md. 195, 167 A.2d...

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