Young v. Zant, No. 81-7123

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore TJOFLAT, HILL and ANDERSON; TJOFLAT
Citation677 F.2d 792
PartiesCharlie YOUNG, Jr., Petitioner-Appellee, Cross-Appellant, v. Walter ZANT, Warden, Georgia Diagnostic & Classification Center, Respondent-Appellant, Cross-Appellee.
Decision Date14 May 1982
Docket NumberNo. 81-7123

Page 792

677 F.2d 792
Charlie YOUNG, Jr., Petitioner-Appellee, Cross-Appellant,
v.
Walter ZANT, Warden, Georgia Diagnostic & Classification
Center, Respondent-Appellant, Cross-Appellee.
No. 81-7123.
United States Court of Appeals,
Eleventh Circuit.
May 14, 1982.

Page 793

Susan V. Boleyn, Asst. Atty. Gen., Atlanta, Ga., for respondent-appellant, cross-appellee.

Laughlin McDonald, Atlanta, Ga., Randolph Z. Volkell, Hollis, N.Y., for petitioner-appellee, cross-appellant.

Before TJOFLAT, HILL and ANDERSON, Circuit Judges.

TJOFLAT, Circuit Judge:

On February 19, 1976, the petitioner, Charlie Young, Jr., was convicted of malice murder, armed robbery and robbery by intimidation by a jury in the Superior Court of Greene County, Georgia. The jury, following a presentencing hearing, recommended that Young be sentenced to death on the malice murder charge, and the court sentenced Young accordingly. The court also sentenced Young to life imprisonment on the armed robbery charge and to twenty years for robbery by intimidation.

After exhausting his state remedies, 1 Young commenced this habeas corpus proceeding in the district court, contending that his convictions were invalid because he was denied his sixth and fourteenth amendment right to effective assistance of counsel. The district court found that Young had been denied effective assistance of counsel during the presentencing phase of

Page 794

his bifurcated trial and set aside the death sentence. 2 Young v. Zant, 506 F.Supp. 274 (M.D.Ga.1980). The court also determined that the evidence the jury was permitted to consider in deliberating the death penalty was insufficient to prove that the homicide was committed under either of the two aggravating circumstances alleged by the State, namely, that Young committed the murder during the course of an armed robbery or for the purpose of obtaining money, 3 and cited this failure of proof as an alternative ground for setting aside the death sentence. 4 As to the guilt phase of Young's trial, the court found no constitutional infirmity and therefore upheld each of Young's convictions. Id.

Both Young and the State of Georgia appeal. Young contends that his trial attorney, Reuben A. Garland, was unaware of the existence or purpose of the bifurcated trial procedure in Georgia death penalty cases whereby the issues of guilt and punishment are considered by the jury in separate proceedings; 5 Garland believed that the jury would, in accordance with the former Georgia procedure, consider guilt and punishment together. According to Young this complete lack of understanding of how his case was to be tried caused Garland to adopt a trial strategy of conceding Young's guilt and pleading for mercy during the guilt phase of the proceeding. Had Garland known that the jury would not be considering whether to recommend mercy as it deliberated the issue of guilt, Young contends, Garland would not have conceded that issue to the State. Instead, he would have argued that Young was guilty not of malice murder but of some lesser included offense, such as voluntary manslaughter, and thus would have removed altogether the threat of the death penalty from the case. Garland also would have argued that the evidence did not support the charges of armed robbery or robbery by intimidation.

The State concedes, as it must on this record, that Garland was unaware of Georgia's bifurcated proceeding in death-penalty cases but contends that he nevertheless provided Young with adequate representation at both the guilt and presentencing phases of the trial. The State also submits that the evidence proved the two aggravating circumstances alleged in Young's indictment and that the sentence of death was therefore lawfully imposed. The State asks that we reverse the district court and deny the writ.

An examination of the record of the trial makes it plain that Garland did not accord

Page 795

Young even a modicum of professional assistance at any time. The petitioner's convictions are consequently invalid, and we direct the district court to issue the writ of habeas corpus.

I.

A.

The State's murder and armed robbery cases against Charlie Young were built on a confession he gave to FBI agents following his arrest and on the testimony of expert witnesses who corroborated his confession with the results of the ballistics, fingerprint and blood tests they conducted. There were no eyewitnesses other than Charlie Young. The State's case of robbery by intimidation, on the other hand, was established principally by persons who saw the offense committed.

According to the confession, on December 15, 1975, Charlie Young, accompanied by his nephew Derwin Young, drove from Atlanta to Union Point, Georgia, hoping to meet with Reuben H. Flynt, vice president of Farmers Bank in Union Point. Flynt had made two bank loans to Charlie Young, and Young had fallen behind in his payments. He feared that the bank would ask his grandmother, who had co-signed his notes, to assume his obligations. He wanted Flynt to set up a new payment plan that would not involve his grandmother.

Charlie and Derwin Young arrived in Union Point during the lunch hour. They drove immediately to Farmers Bank. When Charlie Young noticed that Flynt's automobile was not there, they drove on to Flynt's house, back to the bank and finally back to Flynt's house before Young spotted Flynt's car. They parked in Flynt's driveway, and Charlie Young went to the front door of Flynt's house and rang the bell. Flynt met Young at the door and told him to return to the bank, where Flynt would meet him in thirty minutes. Young was dissatisfied with this arrangement, so he went to his car, got his wife's .22 caliber pistol, returned to the house, walked in and began discussing the two loans with Flynt. During the course of the discussion, Young telephoned his grandmother's house but was unable to reach her. The conversation resumed and led to a heated argument. The two men struggled. Young hit Flynt several times with the butt of the gun and shot him four times at close range. As Flynt lay dying, Young ripped the telephone from the wall and removed Flynt's billfold from his rear pocket.

At this point, Young thought of a way of getting money from Farmers Bank. He returned to his car, and he and Derwin Young drove to the bank. Following Charlie's instructions, Derwin entered the bank, handed Flynt's wallet to a teller and said, "The man that gave me this billfold said for you to give me $60,000 or he will kill Reuben Flynt in fifteen minutes." The teller immediately notified the president of the bank, John Stewart, who called the police and the FBI and then instructed the teller to give Derwin Young $10,000. As Derwin left the bank with the money he was arrested by police officers responding to Stewart's call.

When Derwin Young did not return to the car, Charlie Young fled to his grandmother's house. The police followed him there, arrested him and took him to the Greene County Courthouse. At the courthouse, Charlie Young was questioned and gave the confession that made the State's case. He also consented to a search of his automobile. 6 The search yielded the .22 caliber pistol Young used to kill Reuben Flynt and Flynt's checkbook covered with blood.

In January 1976, a Greene County grand jury indicted Charlie Young, charging him with the malice murder, Ga.Code Ann. § 26-1101(a), and armed robbery of Reuben H. Flynt, Ga.Code Ann. § 26-1902, and the robbery of John Stewart, the Farmers Bank president, by intimidation, Ga.Code Ann.

Page 796

§ 26-1901. The prosecutor gave timely notice that if Young were convicted of malice murder, the State would establish two aggravating circumstances in the presentencing hearing: that the defendant committed the murder during the commission of another capital felony, armed robbery, Ga.Code Ann. § 27-2534.1(b)(2), and that he committed it for the purpose of obtaining money, Ga.Code Ann. § 27-2534.1(b) (4). The prosecutor would ask the jury to recommend the death penalty if it found either of these aggravating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt. At his arraignment Young entered a plea of not guilty.

Charlie Young's family retained Reuben A. Garland to represent him at trial. Garland, a member of the Georgia bar since 1920, was assisted by Frank Petrella, a young associate of an Atlanta law firm. The firm loaned Petrella to Garland strictly for Young's trial; Petrella was not retained by Young's family. Garland relegated Petrella to a minor role in the case, making it plain at the outset that Petrella was to speak only when Garland addressed him.

B.

The State's burden was clear from the start. To obtain a conviction for malice murder the prosecution was required to prove that the accused deliberately intended to kill Reuben H. Flynt under circumstances devoid of considerable provocation or showing an abandoned and malignant heart. Ga.Code Ann. § 26-1101(a). To obtain a conviction for armed robbery the prosecution was required to prove that with intent to commit theft of a person, the accused took Flynt's billfold by using an offensive weapon. Ga.Code Ann. § 26-1902(a). To establish robbery by intimidation the prosecution was required to prove that, under the accused's direction, Derwin Young took money from John Stewart by placing him in fear of Flynt's safety. Ga.Code Ann. § 26-1901.

Garland had two options in preparing Young's defense; he could put the State to the proof or he...

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74 practice notes
  • People v. Wright, No. S004479
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 2, 1989
    ...his guilt phase closing argument. However, the cases defendant cited in support are distinguishable. In Young v. Zant (11th Cir.1982) 677 F.2d 792, 797 and footnote 10, counsel argued "Under the evidence of this case, I only ask you for life ... under the evidence of this case he will never......
  • Collins v. Francis, No. 83-8097
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • March 15, 1984
    ...to the historical facts of the case. See Cuyler v. Sullivan, 446 U.S. 335, 100 S.Ct. 1708, 64 L.Ed.2d 333 (1980); Young v. Zant, 677 F.2d 792, 798 (11th Cir.1982). The state court's conclusion on this mixed question is not entitled to a presumption of correctness under 28 U.S.C.A. Sec. 2254......
  • Washington v. Strickland, No. 81-5379
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • December 23, 1982
    ...case against defendant was overwhelming), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 851, 98 S.Ct. 164, 54 L.Ed.2d 120 (1977). 22 See, e.g., Young v. Zant, 677 F.2d 792, 798-800 (11th Cir.1982); Kemp v. Leggett, 635 F.2d 453, 454-55 (5th Cir.1981); Brubaker v. Dickson, 310 F.2d 30, 38-39 (9th Cir.1962), cert. ......
  • Birt v. Montgomery, No. 82-8156
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • July 11, 1983
    ...to the historical facts of the case. Cuyler v. Sullivan, 446 U.S. 335, 341-42, 100 S.Ct. 1708, 1714, 64 L.Ed.2d 333 (1980); Young v. Zant, 677 F.2d 792, 798 (11th Cir.1982). "The district court's conclusion on this issue is entitled to no special deference and this court must review counsel......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
74 cases
  • People v. Wright, No. S004479
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 2, 1989
    ...his guilt phase closing argument. However, the cases defendant cited in support are distinguishable. In Young v. Zant (11th Cir.1982) 677 F.2d 792, 797 and footnote 10, counsel argued "Under the evidence of this case, I only ask you for life ... under the evidence of this case he will never......
  • Collins v. Francis, No. 83-8097
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • March 15, 1984
    ...to the historical facts of the case. See Cuyler v. Sullivan, 446 U.S. 335, 100 S.Ct. 1708, 64 L.Ed.2d 333 (1980); Young v. Zant, 677 F.2d 792, 798 (11th Cir.1982). The state court's conclusion on this mixed question is not entitled to a presumption of correctness under 28 U.S.C.A. Sec. 2254......
  • Washington v. Strickland, No. 81-5379
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • December 23, 1982
    ...case against defendant was overwhelming), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 851, 98 S.Ct. 164, 54 L.Ed.2d 120 (1977). 22 See, e.g., Young v. Zant, 677 F.2d 792, 798-800 (11th Cir.1982); Kemp v. Leggett, 635 F.2d 453, 454-55 (5th Cir.1981); Brubaker v. Dickson, 310 F.2d 30, 38-39 (9th Cir.1962), cert. ......
  • Birt v. Montgomery, No. 82-8156
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • July 11, 1983
    ...to the historical facts of the case. Cuyler v. Sullivan, 446 U.S. 335, 341-42, 100 S.Ct. 1708, 1714, 64 L.Ed.2d 333 (1980); Young v. Zant, 677 F.2d 792, 798 (11th Cir.1982). "The district court's conclusion on this issue is entitled to no special deference and this court must review counsel......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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