479 U.S. 873 (1986)

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U.S. Supreme Court

GRANDISON v. MARYLAND , 479 U.S. 873 (1986)

479 U.S. 873

No. 85-7165

Supreme Court of the United States

October 6, 1986

Rehearing Denied Dec. 1, 1986. See ___U.S.___.

On petition for writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice MARSHALL, with whom Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting from denial of certiorari.

Petitioner Anthony Grandison was sentenced to death by an improperly instructed jury and did not have the benefit of representation at his sentencing hearing. Because I believe that the jury's instructions under the Maryland statute improperly shifted to petitioner the burden of disproving the appropriateness of his death sentence, and that the denial of a request for legal representation in the sentencing phase of a bifurcated capital proceeding constitutes a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, I dissent.


Petitioner was tried for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, for hiring someone to kill two witnesses scheduled to testify against him in his trial on federal drug charges. The jury found petitioner guilty on all charges and sentenced him to death. Petitioner claims that the Maryland capital sentencing statute and the verdict sheet provided to the jury improperly imposed upon

Page 479 U.S. 873 , 874

him the burden of proof at the sentencing phase. I continue to believe that this issue is worthy of review. See Huffington v. Maryland, --- U.S . ___ (1986) (MARSHALL, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari); Stebbing v. Maryland, 469 U.S. 900 (1984) (MARSHALL, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari).

The State argues that petitioner's claim is foreclosed by a state court construction of the statute holding that the prosecution bears the burden of persuasion. See Foster v. State, 304 Md. 439, 476-480, 499 A.2d 1236, 1256-1257 (1985). In this case, however, the jury was provided with a verdict sheet that unambiguously directed the jurors to return a sentence of death unless mitigating circumstances outweighed aggravating circumstances. The Maryland Court of Appeals may construe the statute to avoid any constitutional difficulty. But the trial court's instructions and the verdict form submitted to the jury must reflect that construction. Here, the verdict form did not; the constitutional infirmity therefore remains undiminished.


At his arraignment, petitioner asserted the right to represent himself under Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806d 562 (1975). Petitioner was informed of his right to counsel, the dangers of self-representation, and the advantages of having counsel to assist at trial and sentencing. Petitioner nonetheless chose to proceed pro se. He was granted the right to have "standby" counsel, but conducted his own defense. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts.

At the first scheduled sentencing proceeding, petitioner asked the court to appoint the lawyer who had served as standby counsel to represent him in the sentencing proceeding. He also sought a continuance, since neither he nor his counsel was prepared to go forward. The court refused to terminate petitioner's self-representation, stating:

"Once the decision is made regarding self-representation, if it is properly made prior to trial, the request to change rests solely within the discretion of the trial court. The right must be timely asserted. It must be asserted before the trial starts. Of course, this is not timely asserted. Whether we continue with it or not, what I am inclined to do about self-representation is leave it just like it is, and let [standby counsel] take over and handle the proceeding as standby counsel [479 U.S. 873 , 875]

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