Wright v. Florida, No. 85-5747

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBLACKMUN
Citation474 U.S. 1094,88 L.Ed.2d 909,106 S.Ct. 870
Decision Date21 January 1986
Docket NumberNo. 85-5747
PartiesJoel Dale WRIGHT v. FLORIDA

474 U.S. 1094
106 S.Ct. 870
88 L.Ed.2d 909
Joel Dale WRIGHT

v.

FLORIDA.

No. 85-5747

Supreme Court of the United States

January 21, 1986

On petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Florida.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice BLACKMUN, with whom Justice BRENNAN and Justice MARSHALL join, dissenting.

I would grant certiorari in this capital case to ensure that the Florida courts have not sentenced a man to die based on a conviction obtained in violation of the Sixth Amendment.

On She apparently had died the previous night after being raped and stabbed. All the doors to her home were locked, but a back window was found open. Several weeks later, Charles Westberry told his wife that petitioner Joel Wright had come to Westberry's trailer shortly after daylight on the morning of February 6 and had confessed to killing the victim. Wright lived with his parents near the victim's home. Westberry's wife notified the police, and Wright was arrested and tried for the crime. At trial, Westberry was the State's principal witness. He testified that Wright had told him on the morning of February 6 that Wright had entered the victim's house through the back window to steal money, that the victim had discovered him as he was wiping his fingerprints from her purse, and that he had killed her because he did not want to return to prison. According to Westberry, Wright counted out $290 he claimed to have taken from the victim's home, and he asked Westberry to tell the authorities that Wright had spent the previous night at Westberry's

Page 1095

trailer. Another witness for the State testified that, approximately one month before the murder, he and Wright had stolen money from the victim's home after entering through the window later found open on February 6. The jury also was told that a fingerprint identified as Wright's had been found on a portable stove in the victim's bedroom.

Wright took the stand and denied involvement in the murder. He testified that he had returned home from a party at approximately 1 a.m. on February 6, but had found himself locked out. He claimed that he then had walked along Highway 19 to Westberry's trailer, where he had spent the night. He also presented a witness who testified that, late on the night of February 5 and early in the morning of February 6, he had seen a group of three men, whom he had not recognized, in the general vicinity of the victim's home.

After the close of evidence but prior to final arguments, the defense moved to re-open the case in order to introduce the testimony of a newly discovered witness, Kathy Waters. Waters apparently had read newspaper accounts of the trial, had listened to parts of the testimony, and had discussed the trial with friends in attendance. She offered to testify that, shortly after midnight on February 6, she had seen a person who could have been Wright walking along Highway 19, and had also observed three persons she did not recognize near the victim's home. Waters claimed...

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72 practice notes
  • Tucker v. Moore, No. Civ.A. 0:98-681-8BD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 15, 1999
    ...had the burden of proving the allegations in his petition. Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813, 814 (S.C.1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 869, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 (1986). Following this hearing, the PCR Court made relevant findings of fact and conclusions of law in accorda......
  • Bolender v. Singletary, No. 91-5254
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • March 11, 1994
    ...factor appropriate where decedent was a confidential informant and defendant suggested that victim would have to die), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 870, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 32 These claims were presented for the first time in a petition to the Florida Supreme Court for a writ of habeas......
  • Butler v. Kellar, No. 88-6677
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 5, 1990
    ...the State's courts, see Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813 (1985), and we again denied certiorari. Butler v. South Carolina, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 869, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 (1986). In May 1986, Butler filed this petition for federal habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. As cha......
  • Shere v. Moore, No. SC00-1960.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • September 12, 2002
    ...become a witness against them in an unrelated criminal case. See, e.g., Francis v. State, 473 So.2d 672, 677 (Fla.1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 870, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 (1986); Lara v. State, 464 So.2d 1173 (Fla.1985). The trial court did not err in instructing the jury on a circ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
72 cases
  • Tucker v. Moore, No. Civ.A. 0:98-681-8BD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 15, 1999
    ...had the burden of proving the allegations in his petition. Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813, 814 (S.C.1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 869, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 (1986). Following this hearing, the PCR Court made relevant findings of fact and conclusions of law in accorda......
  • Bolender v. Singletary, No. 91-5254
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • March 11, 1994
    ...factor appropriate where decedent was a confidential informant and defendant suggested that victim would have to die), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 870, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 32 These claims were presented for the first time in a petition to the Florida Supreme Court for a writ of habeas......
  • Butler v. Kellar, No. 88-6677
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 5, 1990
    ...the State's courts, see Butler v. State, 286 S.C. 441, 334 S.E.2d 813 (1985), and we again denied certiorari. Butler v. South Carolina, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 869, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 (1986). In May 1986, Butler filed this petition for federal habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. As cha......
  • Shere v. Moore, No. SC00-1960.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • September 12, 2002
    ...become a witness against them in an unrelated criminal case. See, e.g., Francis v. State, 473 So.2d 672, 677 (Fla.1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1094, 106 S.Ct. 870, 88 L.Ed.2d 908 (1986); Lara v. State, 464 So.2d 1173 (Fla.1985). The trial court did not err in instructing the jury on a circ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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