State v. Marshall

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
Writing for the CourtSTEIN; Baime; O'HERN; HANDLER; O'Hern
Citation148 N.J. 89,690 A.2d 1
PartiesSTATE of New Jersey, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Robert O. MARSHALL, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date05 March 1997

Page 89

148 N.J. 89
690 A.2d 1
STATE of New Jersey, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Robert O. MARSHALL, Defendant-Appellant.
Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Argued Jan. 16, 1996.
Decided March 5, 1997.

Judith L. Borman, First Assistant Deputy Public Defender and Joan D. Van Pelt, Deputy Public Defender, for appellant (Susan L. Reisner, Public Defender, attorney; Ms.

Page 134

Borman, Ms. Van Pelt and Bernadette N. De Castro, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, on the briefs).

Robert E. Bonpietro and Paul H. Heinzel, Deputy Attorneys General, for respondent (Deborah T. Poritz, Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney).

 TABLE OF CONTENTS
                 I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY ............................................. 23
                 II. THE INTERRELATIONSHIP OF POST-CONVICTION RELIEF, THE CAPITAL
                 PUNISHMENT ACT, AND HABEAS CORPUS ...................................... 27
                 III. LEGAL STANDARDS GOVERNING DEFENDANT'S CLAIMS ............................. 33
                 IV. THE MERITS OF DEFENDANT'S PETITION FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF ............ 35
                 A. ALLEGED ERRORS RELATING TO THE TESTIMONY OF BILLY WAYNE
                 MCKINNON ........................................................ 35
                 1. McKinnon's Plea Agreement ................................... 36
                 2. Other Claims Relating to McKinnon's Credibility ............. 38
                 3. McKinnon's Telephone Call to Robert Cumber .................. 42
                 4. Impact on the Penalty Phase ................................. 42
                 B. ALLEGED ERRORS RELATING TO DEFENSE INVESTIGATOR RUSSELL
                 KOLINS .......................................................... 42
                 C. ALLEGED ERRORS RELATING TO THE 'SUICIDE TAPE' AND ITEMS
                 SEIZED FROM DEFENDANT'S MOTEL ROOM .............................. 47
                 1. Claims Based on Evidence Relevant to Whether the Tape
                 Should Have Been Suppressed on the Ground That It
                 Was Improperly Seized ..................................... 47
                 2. Claims Based on Evidence Relevant to Whether the Tape
                 Should Have Been Suppressed on the Ground That It
                 Was Subject to the Attorney-Client Communication
                 Privilege ................................................. 51
                 3. Claims Alleging Ineffective Assistance of Counsel in
                 Connection With the 'Suicide Tape' and the Items
                 Seized at the Best Western Motel .......................... 54
                 4. Miscellaneous Claims Associated with the 'Suicide
                 Tape' and Items Seized at the Best Western Motel .......... 55
                 D. CLAIMS RELATING TO SARANN KRAUSHAAR ............................. 56
                 E. ALLEGED ERRORS THAT PRECLUDED THE DEFENSE FROM UTILIZING THE
                 CRIME SCENE TO PORTRAY DEFENDANT AS THE VICTIM OF A CRIME ....... 59
                 1. In General .................................................. 59
                 2. The Tire .................................................... 59
                 3. Counsel's Failure to Elicit on Cross-Examination the
                 Consistent Statements Made by Defendant to Various
                 Police Officers About the Problems He Experienced
                 with His Car .............................................. 60
                 4. Position of Body and Ballistics ............................. 61
                 5. Stopping in the Oyster Creek Picnic Area .................... 62
                 6. Defendant's Injuries and Treatment .......................... 62
                 7. Defendant's Demeanor ........................................ 63
                 8. The Jewelry ................................................. 63
                 F. ALLEGED ERRORS THAT PRECLUDED THE DEFENSE FROM DEMONSTRATING
                 THAT NEITHER DEFENDANT'S DEBT NOR INSURANCE POLICIES ON
                 THE VICTIM'S LIFE WERE MOTIVES FOR MURDER ....................... 63
                 1. Debt ........................................................ 63
                 2. Victim's Life Insurance Policies ............................ 65
                 G. ALLEGED INFRINGEMENTS ON DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO RETAIN COUNSEL ...... 67
                 H. ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF DEFENDANT'S MIRANDA RIGHTS .................. 69
                 I. CLAIMS RELATING TO THE INTEGRITY OF THE IMPANELED JURY ............ 69
                 J. MISCELLANEOUS CLAIMS OF PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT .................. 72
                 K. TRIAL COUNSEL'S ALLEGED FAILURE TO INTRODUCE EVIDENCE
                 CORROBORATING DEFENDANT'S TESTIMONY ............................. 73
                 L. ALLEGED ERRORS INVOLVING THE USE OF SEARCH WARRANTS ............... 76
                 M. ALLEGED ERRORS IN THE JURY CHARGE ................................. 77
                 N. CLAIMS INVOLVING THE RELIABILITY OF THE PENALTY-PHASE
                 PROCEEDING ...................................................... 78
                 O. ALLEGED MISCELLANEOUS DISCOVERY VIOLATIONS ........................ 85
                 P. ALLEGED MISCELLANEOUS CLAIMS OF INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF
                 COUNSEL ......................................................... 87
                 Q. CLAIMS ALLEGING THAT THE DEATH-PENALTY STATUTE IS
                 UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND THAT THE APPELLATE DEATH-PENALTY
                 PROCEEDINGS IN THIS CAPITAL CASE HAVE BEEN INADEQUATE AND
                 UNRELIABLE ...................................................... 88
                 R. CUMULATIVE ANALYSIS OF CLAIMS ................................... 90
                 V. CLAIMS INVOLVING THE FAIRNESS OF THE POST-CONVICTION RELIEF
                 PROCEEDINGS ............................................................ 90
                 A. DENIAL OF ACCESS TO THE STATE'S FILES ............................. 90
                 B. THE POST-CONVICTION RELIEF COURT'S DECISION NOT TO
                 DISQUALIFY ITSELF ............................................... 94
                 C. DENIAL OF DEFENDANT'S ATTEMPT TO INTERVIEW THE TRIAL JURORS ....... 96
                 D. REFUSAL TO PERMIT RECONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLEMENTATION OF THE
                 TRIAL RECORD .................................................... 97
                 E. REFUSAL OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL TO TALK TO THE DEFENSE ....... 98
                 F. MISCELLANEOUS CLAIMS THAT THE POST-CONVICTION RELIEF
                 PROCEEDINGS WERE UNFAIR ......................................... 99
                 VI. CONCLUSION ............................................................... 99
                

[690 A.2d 23]

Page 136

The opinion of the Court was delivered by

STEIN, J.

Defendant, Robert Marshall, was tried before a jury and convicted of murdering and conspiring to murder his wife, Maria Marshall. After a penalty-phase hearing, defendant was sentenced to death. This Court upheld the convictions and sentence, 123 N.J. 1, 586 A.2d 85 (1991), and concluded that defendant's death sentence is not disproportionate to the sentences imposed in similar cases. 130 N.J. 109, 613 A.2d 1059 (1992).

After obtaining a stay of execution from the Law Division, defendant filed with that court a petition for post-conviction relief (PCR), see Rule 3:22-1, alleging more than 500 grounds for the reversal of his convictions and sentence. In an unreported opinion, the Law Division denied defendant's PCR application. Defendant appeals to this Court as of right, see Rule 2:2-1(a)(3), presenting to this Court the first PCR application by a defendant sentenced to death under the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice.

Page 137

I

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A detailed recounting of the evidence adduced at defendant's guilt- and penalty-phase trials is set forth in our first Marshall opinion. See State v. Marshall, 123 N.J. 1, 586 A.2d 85 (1991) (Marshall I ), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 929, 113 S.Ct. 1306, 122 L.Ed.2d 694 (1993). We reproduce here "a general outline of the facts that the jury could have found as drawn from the State's brief," State v. Marshall, 130 N.J. 109, 120, 613 A.2d 1059 (1992) (Marshall II ), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 929, 113 S.Ct. 1306, 122 L.Ed.2d 694 (1993), to facilitate the reader's understanding of our disposition of this appeal.

Defendant, a Toms River insurance agent, began an extramarital affair with Sarann Kraushaar, a married woman, in June 1983. As early as December 1983, defendant mentioned to Kraushaar the idea of killing his wife, Maria. In May 1984, defendant met Robert Cumber of Louisiana and questioned him about hiring an "investigator." Defendant later telephoned Cumber, who referred defendant to Billy Wayne McKinnon, a former sheriff's officer from Louisiana. Defendant agreed to pay McKinnon $5,000 to meet him in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Defendant met McKinnon at Harrah's Casino in Atlantic City on June 18, 1984, and offered to pay him $65,000 to kill his wife. In addition to the $5,000 that McKinnon had already received, defendant agreed to pay him $10,000 up front and $50,000 from the expected insurance proceeds on his wife's life. At that meeting defendant paid McKinnon $7,000 and gave [690 A.2d 24] him a picture of his wife. Defendant told McKinnon to kill her that evening, when defendant would be present. In preparation for the killing, defendant and McKinnon discussed various ways to kill Maria. Defendant believed that he would not be considered a suspect because he was considered an outstanding citizen with influence in the community.

McKinnon did not carry out the murder at that time, but instead returned to Louisiana. Defendant communicated with him on numerous occasions and sent him additional money. Under pressure from defendant to complete the job, McKinnon returned to Atlantic City on July 19, 1984, and met with defendant, who proposed a second plan for the killing to take place that evening. Defendant told McKinnon that he would leave his wife in their car to be executed while defendant went into a restaurant under the pretense of using the bathroom facilities. However, McKinnon did not commit the murder at that time either.

Defendant, persistent in his efforts to have his wife killed, offered McKinnon an "extra fifteen" ($15,000) if he would return to New Jersey a third time to do the "job" before Labor Day. McKinnon agreed, and, on September 6, 1984, he and defendant met at a service area parking lot located south of Toms River. Together they selected a spot on the Garden State Parkway to carry out Maria's murder and

Page 138

made final plans for the slaying, which was to occur that evening. The plan was to make the murder look like a robbery.

Defendant took his wife to Harrah's Casino in Atlantic City on the night of September 6, 1984, under the pretext of an evening of dining and gambling. He met McKinnon outside Harrah's at approximately 9:30 p.m. and told him that he and...

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436 practice notes
  • Marshall v. Hendricks, No. 00-9004.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • September 11, 2002
    ...and documentary evidence" and had "planned to amend the petition based on the evidence adduced at the hearing." State v. Marshall, 148 N.J. 89, 690 A.2d 1, 26 (1997) ("Marshall II"). However, the Court granted a full evidentiary hearing as to only five of Marshall's claims, all of which rel......
  • State v. Harvey
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • July 30, 1997
    ...prevented the penalty-phase jury's formation of "residual doubt" and thus influenced the death sentence meted out. See State v. Marshall, 148 N.J. 89, 172, 690 A.2d 1 (1997) (Marshall III ) (recognizing concept of "residual doubt" and its potential impact on penalty-phase deliberations); St......
  • Martini v. Hendricks, Civ. No. 99-4347 (WHW).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Jersey
    • March 15, 2002
    ...it poses a `clear risk of an adverse jury reaction'" Martini V, 160 N.J. at 269, 734 A.2d 257 (quoting Marshall III, 148 N.J. at 258, 690 A.2d 1). As discussed previously with regard to the ineffective assistance of counsel claim, the court found that not only does this material itself have......
  • State v. Nelson
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • July 30, 1998
    ...109-110, 96 S.Ct. 2392, 2400, 49 L. Ed.2d 342, 353 (1976). New Jersey has adopted the Bagley standard of materiality. State v. Marshall, 148 N.J. 89, 155-56, 690 A.2d 1 (1997); State v. Knight, 145 N.J. 233, 247, 678 A.2d 642 "The reviewing court should assess the possibility that [error] m......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
439 cases
  • Marshall v. Hendricks, No. 00-9004.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • September 11, 2002
    ...and documentary evidence" and had "planned to amend the petition based on the evidence adduced at the hearing." State v. Marshall, 148 N.J. 89, 690 A.2d 1, 26 (1997) ("Marshall II"). However, the Court granted a full evidentiary hearing as to only five of Marshall's claims, all of which rel......
  • State v. Harvey
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • July 30, 1997
    ...prevented the penalty-phase jury's formation of "residual doubt" and thus influenced the death sentence meted out. See State v. Marshall, 148 N.J. 89, 172, 690 A.2d 1 (1997) (Marshall III ) (recognizing concept of "residual doubt" and its potential impact on penalty-phase deliberations); St......
  • Martini v. Hendricks, Civ. No. 99-4347 (WHW).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Jersey
    • March 15, 2002
    ...it poses a `clear risk of an adverse jury reaction'" Martini V, 160 N.J. at 269, 734 A.2d 257 (quoting Marshall III, 148 N.J. at 258, 690 A.2d 1). As discussed previously with regard to the ineffective assistance of counsel claim, the court found that not only does this material itself have......
  • State v. Nelson
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • July 30, 1998
    ...109-110, 96 S.Ct. 2392, 2400, 49 L. Ed.2d 342, 353 (1976). New Jersey has adopted the Bagley standard of materiality. State v. Marshall, 148 N.J. 89, 155-56, 690 A.2d 1 (1997); State v. Knight, 145 N.J. 233, 247, 678 A.2d 642 "The reviewing court should assess the possibility that [error] m......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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