State v. Mayhall, No. 94-0727-CR

CourtCourt of Appeals of Wisconsin
Writing for the CourtANDERSON
Citation195 Wis.2d 53,535 N.W.2d 473
PartiesSTATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent, d FDd Petition for review filed. v. La Shonda F. MAYHALL, Defendant-Appellant. dd . Oral Argument
Decision Date18 April 1995
Docket NumberNo. 94-0727-CR

Page 473

535 N.W.2d 473
195 Wis.2d 53
STATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent,
dFDd Petition for review filed.
v.
La Shonda F. MAYHALL, Defendant-Appellant. dd
No. 94-0727-CR.
Court of Appeals of Wisconsin.
Oral Argument April 18, 1995.
Opinion Released May 31, 1995.
Opinion Filed May 31, 1995.

Page 475

[195 Wis.2d 56] On behalf of the defendant-appellant, the cause was submitted on the briefs and oral argument of Robert J. Dvorak of Dvorak & Fincke, S.C., Milwaukee.

On behalf of the plaintiff-respondent, the cause was submitted on the brief of James E. Doyle, Atty. Gen. and G.M. Posner-Weber, Asst. Atty. Gen. Oral argument was by G.M. Posner-Weber.

Before ANDERSON, P.J., and BROWN and SNYDER, JJ.

ANDERSON, Presiding Judge.

LaShonda F. Mayhall appeals from a judgment of conviction of first-degree intentional homicide while armed, as party to the crime, and from an order denying her motions for postconviction relief. Because we conclude that the trial court erred in not giving the jury a limiting instruction regarding out-of-court statements made by a nontestifying codefendant, we reverse and remand for a new trial.

The criminal complaint alleged that LaShonda, LaTonia Mayhall (a/k/a LaTonda) and Vernon Walker feloniously and, in concert with others, intentionally caused the death of Leroy Brantley. Brantley was a friend of Miguel Adams. Adams was the father of LaShonda's child. LaShonda felt that Brantley was interfering in her relationship with Adams and told her sister, LaTonia, that she wanted Brantley killed. LaTonia said that Vernon would take care of it.

Ronald Walker, Vernon's stepbrother, told the police that Vernon said that he had gone to Brantley's house and shot through the door. Brantley was found [195 Wis.2d 57] by the police at his house where he had suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He subsequently died.

A jury trial was held, and the three defendants were tried jointly. LaShonda was subsequently found guilty. She filed motions for postconviction relief which the trial court later denied. LaShonda appeals.

LaShonda raises four issues on appeal. She argues that the court erred in denying her limiting instruction regarding the use of out-of-court admissions of a nontestifying codefendant, in restricting cross-examination of a witness, in denying her postconviction motion alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and in denying the motion to modify her sentence.

Limiting Instruction

LaShonda contends that "[t]he court erred in denying [her] limiting instruction regarding the use of out of court admissions of a nontestifying codefendant and thereby violated her right to confrontation." 1 As long as jury instructions fully and fairly inform the jury of the law applicable to the particular case, the trial court has discretion in deciding which instructions will be given. Farrell v. John Deere Co., 151 Wis.2d 45, 60, 443 N.W.2d 50, 54 (Ct.App.1989). Whether there are sufficient facts to allow the giving of an instruction is a question of law which we review de novo. Id. Additionally, a court errs when it fails to give an instruction on an issue raised by the evidence. Lutz v. Shelby Mut. [195 Wis.2d 58] Ins. Co., 70 Wis.2d 743, 750, 235 N.W.2d 426, 431 (1975).

Before reaching Vernon's out-of-court statements which are the subject of this appeal, we review the law concerning out-of-court admissions made by nontestifying codefendants. In Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S.Ct. 1620, 20 L.Ed.2d 476 (1968), the Supreme Court restated the following premise:

[T]he right of cross-examination is included in the right of an accused in a criminal case to confront the witnesses against him secured by the Sixth Amendment.... [A] major reason underlying the constitutional confrontation rule is to give a defendant charged with [a] crime an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses against him.

Id. at 126, 88 S.Ct. at 1622 (quoted source omitted). The Supreme Court held that the

Page 476

Confrontation Clause is violated when a nontestifying codefendant's confession incriminating another codefendant in the crime is introduced at their joint trial. See id. at 135-36, 88 S.Ct. at 1628. The Court held that even a limiting instruction requiring the jury to only consider the confession against the codefendant for which the statement was offered could not cure a Confrontation Clause violation. Id.

In Richardson v. Marsh, 481 U.S. 200, 107 S.Ct. 1702, 95 L.Ed.2d 176 (1987), the Supreme Court addressed the issue of "whether Bruton requires the same result when the codefendant's confession is redacted to omit any reference to the defendant, but the defendant is nonetheless linked to the confession by evidence properly admitted against him at trial." Id. at 202, 107 S.Ct. at 1704. The Court distinguished Bruton, stating that in Bruton the codefendant's confession expressly implicated the defendant as his accomplice. Id. at 208, 107 S.Ct. at 1707. In contrast, in Richardson the [195 Wis.2d 59] confession was not incriminating on its face, and became so only when linked with evidence later introduced at trial. Id. The Court held: "[T]he Confrontation Clause is not violated by the admission of a nontestifying codefendant's confession with a proper limiting instruction when, as here, the confession is redacted to eliminate not only the defendant's name, but any reference to his or her existence." Id. at 211, 107 S.Ct. at 1709.

In the present case, LaShonda is concerned with the testimony of Shawntal Chapman, Jimmie Jones, Bonnie Price, Ronald Walker, Patrick Walker and Paul Herrick regarding Vernon's statements implicating himself in the murder. Based upon our review of the testimony, we conclude that the testimony of Chapman, Jones, Price, Patrick Walker and Herrick did not require a limiting instruction. The statements made to these witnesses only incriminated Vernon in the conspiracy. Unlike in Richardson, where the codefendant's statement was linked with other evidence which combined to incriminate the respondent, 2 these statements [195 Wis.2d 60] were not susceptible to being linked with other evidence to incriminate LaShonda. Thus, there was no reason to give a limiting instruction.

Ronald Walker's testimony concerning Vernon's out-of-court statements differs from the other statements. Ronald testified that Vernon told him that LaShonda was in the car and that LaShonda was there to show Vernon where Brantley lived. This testimony places LaShonda at or near Brantley's house prior to the murder: 3

Q. What occurred then between you and Vernon outside the club?

A. Me and him had a talk and he told me he believed he had shot somebody.

....

Q. What did he tell you about that situation? Describe when you first met him what was said outside.

A. He told me that Leroy Brantley was supposed to have slapped LaTonda Mayhall. He went over there to talk to him and he was talking and he said he shot through the door. He said he heard

Page 477

Leroy Brantley scream and he shot again through the door.

....

[195 Wis.2d 61] Q. Did [Vernon] indicate how he happened to get there?

A. He said Jerry Yarbrough drove him there.

Q. And did he indicate who else was with him, if anyone?

A. Yes. He said Shonda Mayhall.

Q. Did he indicate why Shonda would have been in the car?

A. He said she showed him where he lived.

Q. What else, if anything, did Vernon tell you outside the club at that time, if you recall?

A. He said he believed he had killed Leroy Brantley.

Ronald's testimony in the present case is analogous to the situation in Richardson. Here, the testimony placing LaShonda at the scene, while not directly incriminating, created the same inferentially incriminating atmosphere as in Richardson when combined with the evidence concerning her motive to murder Brantley and Yarbrough's testimony implicating her in the conspiracy. 4 Ronald's testimony required [195 Wis.2d 62] a limiting instruction as contemplated by Richardson: "[W]ith regard to inferential incrimination the judge's instruction may well be successful in dissuading the jury from entering onto the path of inference in the first...

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16 practice notes
  • State v. Stietz, No. 2014AP2701-CR
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court
    • 13 Junio 2017
    ...of the circuit court and court of appeals, but benefiting from their analyses. Head , 255 Wis. 2d 194, ¶44 (citing State v. Mayhall , 195 Wis. 2d 53, 57, 535 N.W.2d 473 (1995) ); State v. Sartin , 200 Wis. 2d 47, 53, 546 N.W.2d 449 (1996) ; State v. Chew , 2014 WI App 116, ¶7, 358 Wis. 2d 3......
  • State v. Head, No. 99-3071-CR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • 11 Julio 2002
    ...Whether there are sufficient facts to allow the giving of an instruction is a question of law which we review de novo. State v. Mayhall, 195 Wis. 2d 53, 57, 535 N.W.2d 473 (1995). A court errs when it fails to give an instruction on an issue raised by the evidence. Id. at 57-58 (citing Lutz......
  • State v. Ruffin, Appeal No. 2019AP1046-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 9 Marzo 2021
    ...law applicable to the particular case, the trial court has discretion in deciding which instructions will be given." State v. Mayhall , 195 Wis. 2d 53, 57, 535 N.W.2d 473 (Ct. App. 1995). "A court errs when it refuses to give an instruction on an issue raised by the evidence." State v. Pete......
  • State v. King, No. 95-3442-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 30 Septiembre 1996
    ...Our courts have required a harmless error analysis when constitutional errors occur and the defense timely objects. See State v. Mayhall, 195 Wis.2d 53, 62, 535 N.W.2d 473, 477 (Ct.App.1995). We see no reason to abandon this harmless error analysis and give a defendant a right to automatic ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • State v. Stietz, No. 2014AP2701-CR
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court
    • 13 Junio 2017
    ...of the circuit court and court of appeals, but benefiting from their analyses. Head , 255 Wis. 2d 194, ¶44 (citing State v. Mayhall , 195 Wis. 2d 53, 57, 535 N.W.2d 473 (1995) ); State v. Sartin , 200 Wis. 2d 47, 53, 546 N.W.2d 449 (1996) ; State v. Chew , 2014 WI App 116, ¶7, 358 Wis. 2d 3......
  • State v. Head, No. 99-3071-CR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • 11 Julio 2002
    ...Whether there are sufficient facts to allow the giving of an instruction is a question of law which we review de novo. State v. Mayhall, 195 Wis. 2d 53, 57, 535 N.W.2d 473 (1995). A court errs when it fails to give an instruction on an issue raised by the evidence. Id. at 57-58 (citing Lutz......
  • State v. Ruffin, Appeal No. 2019AP1046-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 9 Marzo 2021
    ...law applicable to the particular case, the trial court has discretion in deciding which instructions will be given." State v. Mayhall , 195 Wis. 2d 53, 57, 535 N.W.2d 473 (Ct. App. 1995). "A court errs when it refuses to give an instruction on an issue raised by the evidence." State v. Pete......
  • State v. King, No. 95-3442-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 30 Septiembre 1996
    ...Our courts have required a harmless error analysis when constitutional errors occur and the defense timely objects. See State v. Mayhall, 195 Wis.2d 53, 62, 535 N.W.2d 473, 477 (Ct.App.1995). We see no reason to abandon this harmless error analysis and give a defendant a right to automatic ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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