MUEHLEMAN v. FLORIDA - 484 U.S. 882 (1987)


U.S. Supreme Court

MUEHLEMAN v. FLORIDA , 484 U.S. 882 (1987)

484 U.S. 882

Jeffrey Allen MUEHLEMAN
v.
FLORIDA.
No. 86-7066

Supreme Court of the United States

October 5, 1987

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

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice BRENNAN, dissenting.

Adhering to my view that the death penalty is in all circumstances cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 227, 2971, 49 L. Ed.2d 859 (1976), I would grant the petition for a writ of certiorari and vacate the death sentence in this case.

Justice MARSHALL, dissenting.

Adhering to my view that the death penalty is in all circumstances cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth

Page 484 U.S. 882 , 883

and Fourteenth Amendments, Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 231, 2973 (1976) (MARSHALL, J., dissenting), I would vacate the judgment of the Florida Supreme Court insofar as it left undisturbed the sentence of death imposed in this case. But even if I did not hold this view, I would grant this petition for writ of certiorari in order to clarify the relationship between several recent precedents of this Court. Our opinions in United States v. Henry, 447 U.S. 264, 100 S. Ct. 2183 (1980), Maine v. Moulton, 474 U.S. 159 (1985), and Kuhlmann v. Wilson, 477 U.S. 436 (1986), all examined the circumstances in which the police may, consistent with the Sixth Amendment, obtain incriminating statements from an accused through an informant. We found Sixth Amendment violations in Henry and Maine, but not in Kuhlmann, relying on the slightly different factual circumstances of the cases. These divergent rulings create a potential for misunderstanding when other courts seek to interpret them, as the Florida Supreme Court's opinion in this case demonstrates. We should grant certiorari to resolve the uncertainty created by our own holdings.

I

On May 2, 1983, 96-year-old Earl Baughman hired petitioner, 18-year- old Jeffrey Allen Muehleman, as a "helper." On May 4, petitioner took Baughman to the bank to cash his Social Security check. On May 5, Baughman and his 1961 Cadillac were reported missing. The following day, sheriff's deputies of Pinellas County, Florida, detained petitioner to ask him about the disappearance. Petitioner told a deputy that his name was " Ed Buchanan." He was then arrested for obstructing justice by giving false information, an offense later declared unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court in Bunnell v. State, 453 So.2d 808 (1984). Petitioner waived his Miranda rights and gave a statement that included his true name and a confession to taking some small items without Baughman's permission. Petitioner denied, however, any involvement in Baughman's disappearance. After Baughman's body was found in the trunk of his Cadillac on a St. Petersburg, Florida street, the police again interviewed petitioner at the maximum-security county jail facility where he was being held. Petitioner continued to deny any involvement in Baughman's death.

While he was in the Pinellas County Jail, petitioner came into contact with Ronald Rewis, who was awaiting sentence on a fel- [484 U.S. 882 , 884]




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