State ex rel. Johnson v. Mayo

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtSEBRING; ROBERTS
Citation69 So.2d 307
Decision Date05 January 1954
PartiesSTATE ex rel. JOHNSON v. MAYO.

Page 307

69 So.2d 307
Supreme Court of Florida, Division A.
Jan. 5, 1954.
Rehearing Denied Jan. 25, 1954.

Ernest D. Jackson, Jacksonville, Francisco A. Rodriguez, Tampa, and Releford McGriff, Jacksonville, for petitioner.

Richard W. Ervin, Atty. Gen., and Bart Cohen, Asst. Atty. Gen., for respondent.

SEBRING, Justice.

This is a proceeding wherein the petitioner has applied to this Court for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus upon the ground that the death sentence heretofore imposed upon him for the commission of a murder in the first degree 'is excessive and discriminatory and deprives him of the equal protection of the law as required by section 1, Declaration of Rights, Constitution of the State of Florida [F.S.A.], and by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, in that the death penalty for the crime for

Page 308

which he has been convicted is meted out to those of his age group to those only of his racial identity.' Attached to the petition is a copy of certain statistics purportedly prepared by the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics showing that during the 12-year period extending from 1940 through 1952 there were 7 deaths from legal executions of non-white persons in the 15 to 19 year age group, while during the same period there no deaths from legal executions of white persons in the same age group.

The contention is that from these statistics it is established that over a period of years trial juries in Florida have adopted a consistent and undeviating policy of returning death-penalty verdicts in all capital cases where Negro defendants are involved and of returning lesser verdicts in such cases where white defendants are involved. Some assertion is made that because of this practice the state statute which empowers trial juries in capital cases to return guilty verdicts either with or without a recommendation to mercy, the latter recommendation having the effect of reducing the penalty from death to life imprisonment, is thereby rendered unconstitutional and void under the equal protection clause of the Federal and State Constitutions.

Assuming, for the moment, that the contention has any possible validity, it must be plain to everyone that the statistics cited by the petitioner to sustain it are of such an inconclusive nature as to be wholly worthless for the purpose. They do not reveal, for example, the total number of capital crimes committed during the 12-year period by...

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10 cases
  • Durley v. Mayo, No. 489
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 4 Junio 1956
    ...raised in any such prior proceedings. Washington v. Mayo, 77 So.2d 620; Irvin v. Chapman, 75 So.2d 591; State ex rel. Johnson v. Mayo, 69 So.2d 307.4 In arguing before us that the issues now raised were or were not raised in prior proceedings, the parties have relied somewhat upon cases fro......
  • Barber v. Gladden
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oregon
    • 3 Diciembre 1958
    ...such prior proceedings. Washington v. Mayo, Fla., 77 So.2d 620; Irvin v. Chapman, Fla., 75 So.2d 591; State ex rel. Johnson v. Mayo, Fla., 69 So.2d 307. * * We interpret our own statute, ORS 34.710, to mean that a denial of the writ of habeas corpus is res judicata on a subsequent applicati......
  • State ex rel. Copeland v. Mayo
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 27 Abril 1956
    ...or that he had a fair and adequate opportunity to raise and have determined in previous proceedings. State ex rel. Johnson v. Mayo, Fla., 69 So.2d 307, certiorari denied 347 U.S. 992, 74 S.Ct. 855, 98 L.Ed. 1125; Irvin v. State, Fla., 66 So.2d 288, certiorari denied 346 U.S. 927, 74 S.Ct. 3......
  • State ex rel. Saunders v. Boyer, No. 5135
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 10 Julio 1964
    ...objection to the severity of a sentence ordinarily will not be heard on habeas corpus. See e.g. State ex rel. Johnson v. Mayo, Fla.1954, 69 So.2d 307, 308, 309; 15 Fla.Jur. Habeas Corpus § 48. However, where an attack was directed to a sentence alleged to be wholly unauthorized by law, the ......
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