Lambrix v. State, No. 65203

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtADKINS; McDONALD
Citation494 So.2d 1143,11 Fla. L. Weekly 503
Decision Date25 September 1986
Docket NumberNo. 65203
Parties11 Fla. L. Weekly 503 Cary Michael LAMBRIX, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.

Page 1143

494 So.2d 1143
11 Fla. L. Weekly 503
Cary Michael LAMBRIX, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee.
No. 65203.
Supreme Court of Florida.
Sept. 25, 1986.

Page 1145

J.L. "Ray" LeGrande and Barbara LeGrande of LeGrande & LeGrande, Ft. Myers, for appellant.

Jim Smith, Atty. Gen., and James H. Dysart, Asst. Atty. Gen., Tampa, for appellee.

ADKINS, Justice.

Cary Lambrix appeals his conviction on two counts of first-degree murder and the imposition of two sentences of death. We have jurisdiction. Art. V, § 3(b)(1), Fla. Const. We affirm both convictions and sentences.

On the evening of February 5, 1983, Lambrix and Frances Smith, his roommate, went to a tavern where they met Clarence Moore, a/k/a Lawrence Lamberson, and Aleisha Bryant. Late that evening, they all ventured to Lambrix' trailer to eat spaghetti. Shortly after their arrival, Lambrix and Moore went outside. Lambrix returned about twenty minutes later and requested Bryant to go outside with him. About forty-five minutes later Lambrix returned alone. Smith testified that Lambrix was carrying a tire tool and had blood on his person and clothing. Lambrix told Smith that he killed both Bryant and Moore. He mentioned that he choked and stomped on Bryant and hit Moore over the head. Smith and Lambrix proceeded to eat spaghetti, wash up and bury the two bodies behind the trailer. After burying the bodies, Lambrix and Smith went back to the trailer to wash up. They then took Moore's Cadillac and disposed of the tire tool and Lambrix' bloody shirt in a nearby stream.

On Wednesday, February 8, 1983, Smith was arrested on an unrelated charge. Smith stayed in jail until Friday. On the following Monday, Smith contacted law enforcement officers and advised them of the burial.

A police investigation led to the discovery of the two buried bodies as well as the recovery of the tire iron and bloody shirt. A medical examiner testified that Moore died from multiple crushing blows to the head and Bryant died from manual strangulation. Additional evidence exists to support a finding that Lambrix committed the two murders in question.

In accordance with the jury's recommendation, the trial judge imposed two sentences of death on appellant, finding five aggravating and no mitigating circumstances in regard to the murder of Moore and four aggravating and no mitigating circumstances in regard to the murder of Bryant. Appellant now contends that numerous errors occurred during the guilt phase of the trial. We disagree.

Appellant's first contention on appeal concerns the constitutionality of death-qualified juries. Appellant asserts that the exclusion of jurors opposed to the death penalty results in juries that are not representative of the community and conviction prone. The Eighth Circuit accepted this argument in Grigsby v. Mabry, 758 F.2d 226 (8th Cir.1985). However, the United States Supreme Court recently overruled Grigsby, in Lockhart v. McCree, 476 U.S. 162 106 S.Ct. 1758, 90 L.Ed.2d 137 (1986). Further, this assertion has already been raised and rejected by this Court. Dougan v. State, 470 So.2d 697 (Fla.1985). Once again, we reject this contention.

Appellant contends that the trial court erred in excluding juror Mary Hill for cause in violation of the standards set forth in Witherspoon v. Illinois, 391 U.S. 510, 88 S.Ct. 1770, 20 L.Ed.2d 776 (1968). The problem with appellant's argument is that the United States Supreme Court has recently rejected the standards set forth in Witherspoon. In Wainwright v. Witt, 469 U.S. 412, 105 S.Ct. 844, 83 L.Ed.2d 841 (1985), the Court held that the proper standard for excluding jurors in death cases is the test enunciated in Adams v. Texas, 448 U.S. 38, 100 S.Ct. 2521, 65 L.Ed.2d 581 (1980). In Adams, the Court held that:

[A] juror may not be challenged for cause based on his views about capital punishment unless those views would prevent or substantially impair the performance of his duties as a juror in accordance

Page 1146

with his instructions and his oath.

488 U.S. at 45, 100 S.Ct. at 2526.

Unlike the Witherspoon standard, the standard set forth in Witt to determine whether a prospective juror may be excluded for cause because of his or her views on capital punishment does not require that a juror's bias be proved with unmistakable clarity. Witt, 105 S.Ct. at 852.

The transcript of voir dire indicates that Mrs. Hill repeatedly waivered when questioned about her ability to vote in favor of the death penalty. The relevant voir dire testimony is as follows:

MR. GREENE (Prosecutor): Let's go to phase two. If you did in fact come back with a guilty of one or both counts of first degree murder, then we go to the penalty phase. At that point, the jury makes a recommendation to Judge Stanley as to life imprisonment or death penalty. Could you vote for the death penalty if you were convinced by the evidence and the instructions the Judge gave you?

MRS. HILL: No.

MR. GREENE: Under any circumstances, could you consider the death penalty?

MRS. HILL: I don't think so. Life imprisonment yes, but--

MR. GREENE: If you gave me an "if possible", I know it's hard for you to do. Could you give me a possibly as a definite answer, as possibly to yes or no? Could you, under any circumstances, vote for the death penalty?

MRS. HILL: No.

MR. GREENE: You would never consider the death penalty?

MRS. HILL: No, I could never.

MR. GREENE: Are you sure of that?

MRS. HILL: Yes. I worked with children too much. That's one of the reasons why I couldn't do it.

MR. GREENE: Your Honor, based on her answers, the State would ask that she be excused for cause.

THE COURT: You may inquire.

MR. JACOBS (Defense Attorney): Ma'am do you feel that you could consider the guilt or innocence in this case if you were asked to decide whether my client was guilty or not guilty? Do you think you could do that?

MRS. HILL: Yes.

MR. JACOBS: Regardless of your views on the death penalty, you could do that?

MRS. HILL: Yes.

MR. JACOBS: Okay. Do you feel that after listening to Judge Stanley's instructions, you could follow the law, and consider--that's not saying you have to return a death recommendation--all the law requires is that you...

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35 practice notes
  • Lambrix v. Sec'y, No. 13–11917.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • June 26, 2014
    ...Lambrix raised multiple issues on appeal. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Lambrix's convictions and sentences. See Lambrix v. State, 494 So.2d 1143, 1145 (Fla.1986).2 The direct appeal does not appear to have involved an ineffective-trial-counsel claim.3C. State Post–Conviction Proceedin......
  • Lambrix v. Singletary, 965658
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 12, 1997
    ...to death on both counts. Lambrix's conviction and sentence were upheld on direct appeal by the Florida Supreme Court. Lambrix v. State, 494 So.2d 1143 (Fla.1986). After the Florida courts denied his repeated efforts to obtain collateral relief, Lambrix v. Dugger, 529 So.2d 1110 (Fla.1988); ......
  • Lambrix v. State, No. SC16–8
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • March 9, 2017
    ...to death for the 1983 first-degree murder of two victims after Lambrix had invited them to his trailer to eat dinner. Lambrix v. State , 494 So.2d 1143, 1145 (Fla. 1986). On direct appeal, this Court upheld Lambrix's two convictions of first-degree murder and his two death sentences. Id. at......
  • Lambrix v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., No. 16-10251
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • March 15, 2017
    ...raising multiple issues on appeal. Id. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Lambrix's convictions and sentences. See Lambrix v. State , 494 So.2d 1143, 1145 (Fla. 1986).B. Initial State Post-Conviction Proceedings in 1986-1988Lambrix, through new collateral counsel, filed his first motion for......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
35 cases
  • Lambrix v. Sec'y, No. 13–11917.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • June 26, 2014
    ...Lambrix raised multiple issues on appeal. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Lambrix's convictions and sentences. See Lambrix v. State, 494 So.2d 1143, 1145 (Fla.1986).2 The direct appeal does not appear to have involved an ineffective-trial-counsel claim.3C. State Post–Conviction Proceedin......
  • Lambrix v. Singletary, 965658
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 12, 1997
    ...to death on both counts. Lambrix's conviction and sentence were upheld on direct appeal by the Florida Supreme Court. Lambrix v. State, 494 So.2d 1143 (Fla.1986). After the Florida courts denied his repeated efforts to obtain collateral relief, Lambrix v. Dugger, 529 So.2d 1110 (Fla.1988); ......
  • Lambrix v. State, No. SC16–8
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • March 9, 2017
    ...to death for the 1983 first-degree murder of two victims after Lambrix had invited them to his trailer to eat dinner. Lambrix v. State , 494 So.2d 1143, 1145 (Fla. 1986). On direct appeal, this Court upheld Lambrix's two convictions of first-degree murder and his two death sentences. Id. at......
  • Lambrix v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., No. 16-10251
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • March 15, 2017
    ...raising multiple issues on appeal. Id. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Lambrix's convictions and sentences. See Lambrix v. State , 494 So.2d 1143, 1145 (Fla. 1986).B. Initial State Post-Conviction Proceedings in 1986-1988Lambrix, through new collateral counsel, filed his first motion for......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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