444 U.S. 807 (1979)

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U.S. Supreme Court

LENHARD v. WOLFF , 444 U.S. 807 (1979)

444 U.S. 807

Kirk B. LENHARD and George E. Franzen, Clark County Deputy Public Defenders, Individually and as next friends acting on behalf of Jesse Walter Bishop, applicants,
Charles WOLFF, Warden, Nevada State Prison System, et al
No. A-172

Supreme Court of the United States

October 1, 1979

Rehearing Denied Oct. 19, 1979.

See 444 U.S. 1301.

The applica-

Page 444 U.S. 807 , 808

tion for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Mr. Justice REHNQUIST, by him stayed to and including October 1, 1979, and referred to the Court is denied.

Mr. Justice MARSHALL, with whom Mr. Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting.

I continue to adhere to my view that the death penalty is unconstitutional in all circumstances. Accordingly, I dissent. In addition, however, I feel compelled to note that the present decision is indefensible even under the more restrictive view of the Eighth Amendment taken by a majority of my Brethren. For today the Court grants a man's wish to be put to death even though the sentencing hearing accorded to him failed to comply with the procedural requirements imposed by the prior decisions of this Court.


Since there is no opinion accompanying the denial of the requested stay, a brief review of the events leading up to this application is necessary.

While in the process of robbing a cashier at a Las Vegas casino, Jesse Walter Bishop shot an employee and a patron of the casino who tried to prevent the crime. The patron died as a result of the wound. Bishop was charged with nine felony counts, including first-degree murder.

At the January 13, 1978, arraignment, Bishop stated that he wished to represent himself, to discharge the public defenders assigned to him, and to plead guilty to all charges. On January 23, 1978, after hearing testimony from three court-appointed psychiatrists, the trial judge found Bishop to be competent. The judge informed Bishop that the maximum sentence for first-degree murder was death and suggested that pro se representation was ill-advised. Nevertheless, Bishop insisted on discharging the public defenders. Relying on Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), the judge granted Bishop's motion for self-representation. The judge did ap- [444 U.S. 807 , 809]

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