Tompkins v. State

Decision Date07 October 1987
Docket NumberNo. 68870,68870
Citation774 S.W.2d 195
PartiesPhillip Daniel TOMPKINS, Appellant, v. The STATE of Texas, Appellee.
CourtTexas Court of Criminal Appeals
OPINION

TEAGUE, Judge.

Phillip Daniel Tompkins, hereinafter appellant, was convicted by a jury of intentionally causing the death of Mary D. Berry while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the offenses of robbery and kidnapping of Berry, which elevated the offense of murder to capital murder. See V.T.C.A., Penal Code, Section 19.03(a)(2). After the jury answered in the affirmative the special issues that were submitted to it pursuant to Art. 37.071, V.A.C.C.P., the trial judge assessed appellant's punishment at death.

We affirm.

Appellant presents to this Court several "Issues for Review" in the two briefs that are in the record of appeal. For purposes of this appeal, we will refer to his "Issues for Review" as "Points of Error." 1 None of appellant's contentions challenge the sufficiency of the evidence on guilt or on any of the issues submitted on punishment. Appellant's points of error, which we group as follows, assert that he is entitled to a new trial because of the following: (1) the prosecuting attorneys selectively exercised their peremptory strikes on several black prospective jurors and fashioned their respective voir dire examination of the remaining black prospective jurors in such a manner so that all blacks would be prevented from serving as jurors in this cause; (2) the trial judge erred by not granting his motion to quash the indictment; (3) the trial judge erred in not finding that a State's witness was, as a matter of law, his common law wife; (4) the trial judge erred in not instructing the jury on the lesser included offenses of involuntary manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide; (5) the trial judge erred in permitting a prison psychologist from the Commonwealth of Virginia to testify against him at the punishment stage of the trial; (6) the trial judge erred in not excluding at the punishment stage of the trial the testimony of two reputation witnesses from the Commonwealth of Virginia who testified for the State; (7) statements made by one of the prosecuting attorneys during her jury argument at the punishment stage of the trial were so egregious that they deprived appellant of a fair and impartial trial; and (8) this Court erred in refusing to grant him permission to file his original appellate brief that numbered 144 pages, which at the time it was submitted for filing exceeded the then existing maximum of 50 pages by 94 pages.

Finding that none of appellant's contentions merit this Court legally reversing his conviction, we will expressly overrule all of them and affirm the trial court's judgment of conviction and sentence of death.

Appellant first asserts that the trial judge erred in overruling his motion to quash the jury that had been selected in this cause because the State excluded by peremptory strikes five black venirepersons, thus depriving him of "his right to a trial by a jury of his peers which was truly representative of a cross-section of the community." Appellant relies upon the Constitutions of Texas, the United States, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, and case law from this Court and the Supreme Court of the United States as authority for his contention. The record reflects that appellant's motion to quash the jury was presented and overruled prior to the presentation of any evidence but after the jury had been selected to hear this cause.

At the time of appellant's trial, the law on the issue that appellant presents to this Court for review was governed by the Supreme Court decision of Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202, 85 S.Ct. 824, 13 L.Ed.2d 759 (1965). However, on April 30, 1986, while appellant's case was pending review by this Court, the Supreme Court of the United States in Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986), overruled Swain, supra, "[t]o the extent that anything in Swain v. Alabama, supra, is contrary to the principles we articulate today ..." 106 S.Ct. at 1725. 2 In Griffith v. Kentucky and Brown v. United States, 479 U.S. 314, 107 S.Ct. 708, 93 L.Ed.2d 649 (1987), the Supreme Court held that Batson, supra, applied to litigation pending on direct State or federal review or not yet final when Batson, supra, was decided on April 30, 1986, "with no exception for cases in which the new rule constitutes a 'clear break' with the past." However, the Supreme Court held in Allen v. Hardy, 478 U.S. 255, 106 S.Ct. 2878, 92 L.Ed.2d 199 (1986), that Batson, supra, was not to be applied retroactively to a case then pending on federal habeas review. Thus, the issue that appellant presents must be decided pursuant to Batson, supra, and not Swain, supra.

We believe that in order for the reader to fully appreciate what the Supreme Court stated and held in Batson, supra, it is necessary to briefly review what the Court stated and held in Swain, supra.

In Swain v. Alabama, supra, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the principle of law laid down in Strauder v. West Virginia, 10 Otto 303, 100 U.S. 303, 25 L.Ed. 664 (1880), and other cases, see those compiled in 106 S.Ct. at 1716, fn. 3, that a State may not purposefully exclude members of the black race from jury service solely because of their race. In Strauder, the State of West Virginia had passed a statute which permitted only white persons to serve as jurors, which the Supreme Court declared was unconstitutional. Although the Supreme Court reaffirmed in Swain, supra, the principle that a "State's purposefulness or deliberate denial to Negroes on account of race of participation as jurors in the administration of justice violates the Equal Protection Clause," i.e., that prosecuting attorneys may not exclude members of the same race as the defendant from the jury venire on account of race or on the false assumption that members of the defendant's race as a group are not qualified to serve as jurors, it also held that "the defendant must, to pose the issue, show the prosecutor's systematic use of peremptory challenges against Negroes over a period of time ..." 85 S.Ct. at 839. The Court also held that there was a presumption that the prosecuting attorney did not exercise his peremptory strikes on account of race or on the false assumption that members of the defendant's race as a group are not qualified to serve as jurors.

Based upon what the Supreme court had stated and held in Swain, supra, courts throughout the nation, including this Court, see, for example, Ridley v. State, 475 S.W.2d 769 (Tex.Cr.App.1972), also see the list of cases cited on page 51 of appellant's original brief, held that merely because no member of the defendant's race had ever served as a juror in a criminal case which the prosecuting attorney had prosecuted was insufficient to establish a prima facie case of purposeful discrimination by that prosecuting attorney, i.e., in the instance where the defendant was black, to establish a prima facie case of purposeful discrimination by the prosecuting attorney, it was necessary for him to establish the repeated striking of blacks over a number of cases by the same prosecuting attorney before a prima facie case was established.

In Batson, supra, the Supreme Court, after concluding that the quantum of proof made necessary by Swain, supra, largely made prosecuting attorneys use of peremptory strikes immune from constitutional scrutiny, then set out a lesser burden of proof through which the defendant could establish a prima facie case of purposeful discrimination by the prosecuting attorney:

To establish such a case, [that the prosecuting attorney had exercised his peremptory challenges on the basis of purposeful discrimination], the defendant first must show that he is a member of a cognizable racial group ..., and that the prosecutor has exercised peremptory challenges to remove from the venire members of the defendant's race ... [T]hese facts and any other relevant circumstances raise an inference that the prosecutor used that practice to exclude the veniremen from the petit jury on account of their race. This combination of factors raises the necessary inference of purposefulness discrimination. 106 S.Ct. at 1723.

If a prima facie case is established by the defendant, the prosecuting attorney's exercise of his peremptories to strike black persons would violate principles of equal protection of the law, unless he could come forward and demonstrate some "neutral"-non-race related- explanation, relating to the case to be tried, for excluding the prospective jurors. Batson, supra, held that to be acceptable the explanation need not, however, be equal to "cause" sufficient to justify a challenge to a juror for cause. 3 Thus, under Batson, supra, it is only when the defendant makes a prima facie showing that the burden then, and only then, shifts to the State to come forward with a neutral explanation why peremptory strikes were exercised on the black jurors who were struck. 106 S.Ct. at 1723.

As previously pointed out, while appellant's case was under submission and pending review by this Court, the Supreme Court decided Batson v. Kentucky, supra. In light of Batson's evident impact upon appellant's above contention, on April 22, 1987, this Court in an unpublished opinion ordered the appeal abated to the trial court with instructions to the trial judge to conduct an evidentiary hearing and determine whether appellant had made a prima facie showing of purposeful discrimination and, if so, whether the prosecuting attorneys in this cause could offer a racially neutral explanation for using their peremptory strikes which is what we also did...

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198 cases
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    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eighth Circuit
    • February 6, 1990
    ...nature and degree from Tompkins v. Texas, --- U.S. ----, 109 S.Ct. 2180, 104 L.Ed.2d 834 (1989) (per curiam), aff'g Tompkins v. State, 774 S.W.2d 195 (Tex.Crim.App.1987). Accordingly, we vacate Williams' death In vacating the death sentence, however, we note that Williams' case does not nec......
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11 books & journal articles
  • Jury Selection and Voir Dire
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Texas Criminal Lawyer's Handbook. Volume 1 - 2019 Contents
    • August 16, 2019
    ...impact on minority jurors. Batson further does not limit a party’s right to challenge a venireman for cause. Tompkins v. State, 774 S.W.2d 195 (Tex. Crim. App. 1987), affirmed at 490 U.S. 754, 109 S.Ct. 2180, 104 L.Ed.2d 834 (1989). Batson laid out a framework of inquiry which will be discu......
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