479 U.S. 898 (1986)

Annotate this Case
  • Syllabus  | 
  • Case

U.S. Supreme Court

PORTER v. ILLINOIS , 479 U.S. 898 (1986)

479 U.S. 898

No. 85-6977 Supreme Court of the United States October 14, 1986

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

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

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

I would grant this petition for certiorari to consider the extent of the obligations our decision in Smith v. Phillips, 455 U.S. 209 (1982), imposes on a trial judge confronted with a claim of juror bias.


Petitioner Anthony Porter was convicted of two murders committed in the course of an armed robbery and was sentenced to death. During voir dire, the trial judge read a list of potential witnesses, including the mother of Marilyn Green, one of the victims. He did not ask whether any of the prospective jurors knew any of the persons on the list, and none of them volunteered that they did. After the jury returned a guilty verdict, petitioner waived his right to a jury at the penalty proceeding. Before the judge dismissed the jurors, however, he addressed them as follows:

"THE COURT: It was brought to my attention before I actually formally dismissed you that one of the jurors stated that he knew that some other juror purportedly or allegedly went to church-to the same church as one of the decedent's mother. Is that right, was that you-please identify yourself. MRS. TRICKLET: * Yes, but that didn't make any difference to me about that. THE COURT: Thank you, ma'am. It didn't make any difference? MRS. TRICKLET: No

______--- * The trial transcript incorrectly lists the juror's name as Tricklet, rather than Trigleth.

Page 479 U.S. 898 , 899

THE COURT: Ma'am, your name again? MRS. TRICKLET: Lilly B. Tricklet THE COURT: It didn't make any difference to you, you abided by your oath and did you recognize the fact when I had read you the name of all the witnesses in the beginning before we even started, you didn't recognize that? MRS. TRICKLET: No THE COURT: When did you finally recognize- MRS. TRICKLET: After it had got started and everything was going on. THE COURT: But, it made no difference to you, is that right? MRS. TRICKLET: No, that is right. THE COURT: I will now formally dismiss you. You are all dismissed." People v. Porter, 111 Ill.2d 386, 397-398, [95 Ill.Dec. 465, 469-470] 489 N.E.2d 1329, 1333-1334 (Ill.1986)." Defense counsel was not permitted to question Mrs. Trigleth. After he suggested that "the Court should have questioned this juror in detail as to her relationship to that family," id., at 398, 95 Ill.Dec., at 470, 489 N.E.2d, at 1334, the judge made the following statement: "This Court will state for the record that in an unusual proceeding, I think probably the most unusual I have ever engaged in in all my years as a lawyer and as a Judge, I did bring back the entire jury and I had not dismissed them and the lady that identified herself was under oath and said for the record that the facts that came to light after the case, sometime after the case had commenced, in earnest, didn't influence her whatsoever. "Accordingly, this Court felt that going beyond that regarding that issue is not-would not have been proper, would have invaded the sanctity of the jury and jury deliberation. Mr. Porter talked to and did, in fact request and have his constitutional right to a jury. The lady was under oath. She was not on trial, Mr. Porter was." Id., at 413-414, 95 Ill.Dec., at 475, 489 N.E.2d, at 1339 (emphasis supplied). Petitioner moved for a new trial. He submitted the affidavit of Isaias Torres, the juror who had brought the matter to the court's attention. In his affidavit, Torres stated that "a fellow juror informed him that another juror sitting in judgment of the facts [479 U.S. 898 , 900]

Disclaimer: Official Supreme Court case law is only found in the print version of the United States Reports. Justia case law is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or information linked to from this site. Please check official sources.