Gilliam v. State

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Citation16 Fla. L. Weekly 292,582 So.2d 610
Docket NumberNo. 73144,73144
PartiesBurley GILLIAM, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. 582 So.2d 610, 16 Fla. L. Week. 292
Decision Date02 May 1991

Page 610

582 So.2d 610
Burley GILLIAM, Appellant,
STATE of Florida, Appellee.
No. 73144.
582 So.2d 610, 16 Fla. L. Week. 292
Supreme Court of Florida.
May 2, 1991.
Rehearing Denied Aug. 6, 1991.

Page 611

Robin H. Greene of the Law Offices of Robin H. Greene, P.A., Miami, for appellant.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., and Mark S. Dunn, Asst. Atty. Gen., Miami, for appellee.

SHAW, Chief Justice.

Burley Gilliam appeals his conviction for first-degree murder, sentence of death, and consecutive life sentence for sexual battery. Our jurisdiction is mandatory. Art. V, Sec. 3(b)(1), Fla.Const. We affirm the convictions and death sentence, but remand for resentencing for the sexual battery.

The victim, Joyce Marlowe, was last seen alive on the evening of June 8, 1982, in the company of appellant. That same evening, Burroughs, fishing on a lake, heard a woman screaming. When he arrived on shore, he found a truck (later identified as one Gilliam was driving) stuck in the sand, and its driver acting "very very nervous," but otherwise sober and normal. The next day Burroughs noticed that the lake area was roped off, and was told by police that a woman had been raped and murdered.

Appellant gave several accounts of his activities on the day of the murder to Detective Merrit, and in so doing stated that he and the victim were swimming in the lake and he ducked her under too long; he attempted resuscitation, but was unsuccessful.

Appellant raises six points on appeal. First, he argues that it was error to deny his motion to recuse the trial judge. We disagree. To justify recusal, a motion must be well-founded. Fischer v. Knuck, 497 So.2d 240 (Fla.1986). Merely receiving adverse rulings is not a ground for recusal. See Tafero v. State, 403 So.2d 355, 361 (Fla.1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 983, 102 S.Ct. 1492, 71 L.Ed.2d 694 (1982). We find the allegations here insufficient.

Second, appellant asserts that it was error to deny his request for postverdict interviews. We find no error here. No affidavits were attached to the motion demonstrating personal knowledge of misconduct by any juror. Appellant failed to establish a prima facie case of any juror's exposure to an allegedly prejudicial newspaper article. The jury was sworn on June 8, 1988; appellant filed a motion to recuse on June 13, and that same day the Miami Herald published an article regarding the motion; the jury convicted appellant on June 17, and recommended death on June 20; on June 23, one of the jurors wrote a letter to the judge complimenting him on his performance during a difficult trial. The juror's letter contained the handwritten postscript: "after this letter was typed I was given the Herald article...." These facts justify the conclusion that the letter came after the juror had rendered her verdict and advisory recommendation, and had been dismissed.

Appellant next argues that the trial court improperly found the murder heinous, atrocious, or cruel. 1 We disagree. The victim sustained brutal injuries. The medical experts testified that death was caused by strangulation; the victim had injuries to her face, neck, breast, shins, arms, rectum, and vagina; she had bruises from being grabbed; one of her nipples was almost bitten off by appellant; from the anal rape there were tears extending through the anal and rectal region, including into the skin surrounding the anus (where, in the words of the trial judge, she was in effect torn apart); there was hemorrhaging from the vagina to the neck of the urinary bladder; and the victim was alive when these injuries were inflicted. We reject appellant's argument that the victim's consciousness was insufficiently proved.

Page 612

The medical examiner testified unequivocally that there was no injury to the victim's brain or the tissue surrounding it, that the victim died of...

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34 cases
  • Cooper v. State, F-92-533
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • January 10, 1995
    ...state supreme court moved away from prior caselaw, which would have held Fenelon applied retrospectively; cases cited); Gilliam v. State, 582 So.2d 610, 612 (Fla.1991) (caselaw requiring sentencing judge in capital case to expressly evaluate in written order each mitigating circumstance to ......
  • Davis v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., Case No. 3:15-cv-314-J-32JRK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • April 5, 2019
    ...192 So. 2d at 351. A trial judge's adverse rulings against one party do not constitute a sufficient ground for recusal. Gilliam v. State, 582 So. 2d 610, 611 (Fla. 1991). See Areizaga v. Spicer, 841 So. 2d 494 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003); Hastings v. State, 788 So. 2d 342 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001).In the ......
  • Williams v. State, 95-2301
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 5, 1997
    ...for recusal. Barwick, 660 So.2d at 692; Jackson, 599 So.2d at 107; Provenzano v. State, 616 So.2d 428, 432 (Fla.1993); Gilliam v. State, 582 So.2d 610, 611 (Fla.1991); Tafero v. State, 403 So.2d 355, 361 (Fla.1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 983, 102 S.Ct. 1492, 71 L.Ed.2d 694 (1982); Heier v.......
  • Cruz v. State, SC20-60
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • July 1, 2021
    ...or kidnapping. This Court reviews a trial court's assignment of weight to aggravators for abuse of discretion. See Gilliam v. State , 582 So. 2d 610, 611-12 (Fla. 1991).In evaluating the evidence of the burglary, robbery, and kidnapping, the trial court stated,The State presented strong cir......
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