Williams, In re, S011868

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Citation29 Cal.Rptr.2d 64,7 Cal.4th 572,870 P.2d 1072
Decision Date11 April 1994
Docket NumberNo. S011868,S011868
Parties, 870 P.2d 1072 In re Stanley WILLIAMS, on Habeas Corpus.

McCambridge & Deixler, McCambridge, Deixler, Marmaro & Goldberg, Bert H. Deixler, Manatt Phelps, Rothenberg & Tunney, Leslie A. Swain, Los Angeles, Brodey & Price and Howard R. Price, Beverly Hills, for petitioner.

Daniel E. Lungren and John K. Van de Kamp, Attys. Gen., George Williamson and Richard B. Iglehart, Chief Asst. Attys. Gen., Edward T. Fogel, Jr., Sr. Asst. Atty. Gen., Carol Wendelin Pollack, Asst. Atty. Gen., Carol A. Greenwald, Donald E. de Nicola, Marc E. Turchin, Ivy Kessel, Joan Comparet, Jane Catherine Malich, Susan Lee Frierson and Sharlene A. Honnaka, Deputy Attys. Gen., Ira Reiner, Dist. Atty., Harry B. Sondheim, George M. Palmer and Patricia H. Horikawa, Deputy Dist. Attys., for respondent.

LUCAS, Chief Justice.

Over five years ago, we affirmed the judgment of guilt, the finding of special circumstances, and the sentence of death in this matter. (People v. Williams (1988) 44 Cal.3d 1127, 245 Cal.Rptr. 635, 751 P.2d 901.) At the same time, after first issuing an order to show cause and ordering an evidentiary hearing, we also denied an initial petition for a writ of habeas corpus (Crim. No. 23806), in which petitioner asserted the prosecutor illegally used a jailhouse informant to solicit incriminating evidence from him. (44 Cal.3d at pp. 1140-1141, 1158, 245 Cal.Rptr. 635, 751 P.2d 901.)

In January 1989, we denied a subsequent habeas corpus petition (S008526) that raised, inter alia, the same jailhouse informant issue rejected earlier. Thereafter, petitioner sought relief in the federal district court, which stayed a pending execution date and ordered petitioner to exhaust claims not previously presented to this court. Petitioner filed the present petition (S011868), which again raised, inter alia, the jailhouse informant issue, but which contained new material allegations based on previously unavailable information. Thereafter we issued to the Director of the Department of Corrections an order to show cause why petitioner's death sentence is not invalid because it is based on jailhouse informant evidence that was obtained in violation of defendant's Sixth Amendment rights under Massiah v. United States (1964) 377 U.S. 201, 84 S.Ct. 1199, 12 L.Ed.2d 246 (hereafter Massiah ), and United States v. Henry (1980) 447 U.S. 264, 100 S.Ct. 2183, 65 L.Ed.2d 115 (hereafter Henry ). We subsequently ordered a second evidentiary hearing and reappointed Judge Paul Egly (who had served as our referee in the initial habeas corpus proceeding (Crim. No. 23806)), as referee. Judge Egly's report is now before this court, as are the parties' postevidentiary hearing briefs. For the reasons explained below, we will deny the petition and discharge our order to show cause.

Facts and Procedure

The facts are stated in our initial opinion (People v. Williams, supra, 44 Cal.3d at pp. 1133-1138, 245 Cal.Rptr. 635, 751 P.2d 901). As relevant here, they are as follows:

Petitioner, along with three others, robbed and murdered a convenience store employee. Two weeks later, he robbed and murdered three members of a family who owned and operated a motel. At trial, petitioner was linked to these crimes by: (i) immunized testimony of Alfred Coward, one of petitioner's cohorts in the first killing, who testified that petitioner shot the store employee, and that petitioner told the others he did so because he did not want to leave witnesses; (ii) Coward's additional testimony that petitioner laughed hysterically and mimicked the noises made by the store employee as he died; (iii) the testimony of a firearms expert that shotgun casings found at the scene of the motel murders were from a gun purchased by petitioner; (iv) immunized testimony by Samuel Coleman, who testified that petitioner told him on the day after the killings that he had killed some people who lived on Vermont Street (the site of the motel); (v) the testimony of both James and Esther Garrett, in whose home petitioner stayed approximately five days a week during the period in question, that petitioner admitted killing some "Chinese people" on Vermont Street; and (vi) the testimony of Esther Garret that petitioner admitted the killings, and said he used the money to purchase the drug "PCP." (People v. Williams, supra, 44 Cal.3d at pp. 1134-1136, 245 Cal.Rptr. 635, 751 P.2d 901.) 1

In addition to this ample evidence linking petitioner to the killings, the prosecution offered the testimony of a jailhouse informant, George Oglesby, also known as "Gunner." As we noted in our opinion on appeal:

"At the time of his testimony, Oglesby had pleaded guilty to second degree murder, but had not been sentenced. He was originally charged with first degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of rape; special circumstances also were alleged. The special circumstance allegations were dropped at a Penal Code section 995 hearing. As a part of his plea, the remaining counts and a use allegation were to be dismissed. [p] A supplementary probation report prepared on Oglesby indicated the charge eventually would be reduced to manslaughter because he was to testify in other cases. Oglesby also testified that he understood his attorney had spoken to the district attorney who was prosecuting defendant's case about reducing the charges against him to second degree murder. He also hoped to receive protective housing in another state." (People v. Williams, supra, 44 Cal.3d at p. 1136, fn. 5, 245 Cal.Rptr. 635, 751 P.2d 901.)

Oglesby testified that petitioner admitted robbing a motel and shooting three people. Most important, however, Oglesby testified about petitioner's escape plans. As we stated in our opinion on the appeal:

"Oglesby testified that in late April defendant asked him about the chances of escaping from Atascadero or Patton, where he believed he might be sent. He later asked Oglesby if he wished to be included in an escape plan and Oglesby indicated he did. Defendant outlined a plan complete with drawings that involved escaping while being transferred from jail to court. According to the plan, as summarized by Oglesby, two people from 'the outside' would disarm the officer driving the bus. Defendant also planned to kill a person on the bus who was to testify against him, as well as the two officers who would accompany the bus. Defendant later modified the plan to include blowing up the bus in order to prevent the authorities from quickly determining who had escaped.

"Oglesby received two notes from defendant, one stating that a female visitor was not the girlfriend who was to be involved in the escape and the second stating that a female visitor had a new shotgun for him. A few days after receiving the notes Oglesby told Lt. Fitzgerald what he knew about the escape.

"After talking to Lt. Fitzgerald, Oglesby again communicated with defendant about an escape. In one note defendant stated that someone on the outside had obtained dynamite for him. Another note asked whether they should delay their escape because his brother had been sentenced to three months for an earlier attempt to help him escape from jail. Oglesby testified he told defendant that it probably would be better to escape earlier rather than wait. In another note defendant asked whether they should escape at his next court appearance or try to go to the Los Angeles County Hospital and attempt an escape from there. Another note stated that 'Blackie' [i.e., Coward] was a heartbeat away from death and asked if Oglesby's wife had made arrangements to get weapons. In a subsequent note defendant suggested giving Oglesby's wife's phone number to his girlfriend, observed that his girlfriend had gotten a pump shotgun, and stressed his hope that Oglesby's wife had weapons. The note also directed Oglesby to phone his wife and make plans so she could arrange a meeting with a woman named 'Lynn' to help with the escape.

"The first target date for the escape was June 12, 1979. The plan was aborted, however, because defendant had no way of arranging to get Oglesby to court at the same time. In addition, Oglesby testified that after one of defendant's court appearances, defendant told him he had to cancel the escape attempt because he believed two police vehicles were following the bus. He then altered the plan so the attempt would occur after they left court." (People v. Williams, supra, 44 Cal.3d at pp. 1136-1137, 245 Cal.Rptr. 635, 751 P.2d 901.) 2

A. Issues raised on appeal and in the initial habeas corpus petition

In our opinion on appeal, we addressed petitioner's claim that the prosecution's use of Oglesby to solicit incriminating information from him violated petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to counsel. We concluded, "[o]n the limited appellate record before us, we cannot determine whether Oglesby was a government agent [or] whether he deliberately elicited incriminating statements from [petitioner]...." (People v. Williams, supra, 44 Cal.3d at p. 1138, 245 Cal.Rptr. 635, 751 P.2d 901.) Accordingly, we rejected his Sixth Amendment claim on appeal.

While the appeal was pending, however, petitioner filed with this court his initial habeas corpus petition (Crim. No. 23806), which raised, inter alia, the same Sixth Amendment jailhouse informant claim. We issued an order to show cause, and ordered an evidentiary hearing, at which we instructed our referee, Judge Egly, to determine:

"(1) During what period of time, if any, was George Oglesby a 'paid government informant' as that term is used in United States v. Henry (1980) 447 U.S. 264, 100 S.Ct. 2183, 65 L.Ed.2d 115?

"(2) During what period of time, if any, was defendant aware that George Oglesby was a 'paid government informant'?

"(3) Upon what occasions, if any, did George Oglesby deliberately elicit incriminating statements from defen...

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