HAMILTON v. ZANT
Annotate this Case
466 U.S. 989 (1984)
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U.S. Supreme Court
HAMILTON v. ZANT , 466 U.S. 989 (1984)
466 U.S. 989
Roland Paul HAMILTON
Walter D. ZANT, Superintendent, Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center.
Supreme Court of the United States
May 14, 1984.
On petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Georgia.
The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.
Justice MARSHALL, with whom Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting.
Petitioner, Roland Paul Hamilton, and his friend, Billie Jean Rose, met John Shinall at a bar one evening, took a few drinks and accompanied Shinall to another bar. Later, Shinall suggested that they go to his house to eat, rest, and watch television before visiting more bars. Shinall died from injuries he suffered during this layover at his home. The State's theory was that petitioner went to Shinall's home with the intention of robbing him and killed him in the process. Petitioner claimed that he struck Shinall in order to prevent him from raping Rose and that Rose, too, participated in subduing Shinall by hitting him over the head with a bottle. According to petitioner, he robbed Shinall only as an
afterthought and without knowledge that Shinall's injuries were fatal.
Armed with Rose as its leading witness, the prosecution succeeded in convincing the jury to convict petitioner of felony murder. After a sentencing trial, the jury found that the murder was accompanied by two aggravating circumstances 1 and condemned petitioner to death. On direct appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, his conviction and sentence were affirmed. Hamilton v. State, 244 Ga. 145, 259 S.E.2d 81 (1979). This Court vacated the sentence and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of Godfrey v. Georgia, 446 U.S. 420 (1980). 446 U.S. 961 (1980). On remand, the Georgia Supreme Court reaffirmed the imposition of the death sentence. Hamilton v. State, 246 Ga. 264, 271 S.E.2d 173 (1980). This Court then denied a writ of certiorari. 449 U.S. 1103 ( 1981).
Petitioner next sought habeas corpus relief in the Superior Court of Butts County, Ga., claiming that at both the guilt-innocence and sentencing phases of his trial he had been denied effective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The Superior Court granted a new trial to petitioner based upon evidence produced at five hearings over a span of 18 months. [Footnote 2] The Supe- [466 U.S. 989 , 991]