ALDRICH v. WAINWRIGHT
Annotate this Case
479 U.S. 918 (1986)
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U.S. Supreme Court
ALDRICH v. WAINWRIGHT , 479 U.S. 918 (1986)
479 U.S. 918
Levis Leon ALDRICH
Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections
Supreme Court of the United States
October 20, 1986
On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
Justice MARSHALL, with whom Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting from denial of certiorari.
Adhering to my view that the death penalty is under all circumstances cruel and unusual punishment forbidden by the Eighth
and Fourteenth Amendments, I would vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit insofar as it left undisturbed the death sentence imposed in this case. Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 231, 96 S. Ct. 2909, 2973 (1976) (MARSHALL, J., dissenting). However, even if I believed that the death penalty could be imposed constitutionally under certain circumstances, I nevertheless would grant certiorari because petitioner was denied effective assistance of counsel at his trial in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Petitioner Levis Leon Aldrich was charged with the murder of Robert Ward, the night manager at a restaurant where Aldrich had at one time been employed. Ward's body was discovered at 12:25 a.m. on September 3, 1974, by sheriff's deputies responding to the restaurant's burglar alarm. Ward had been shot in the head. The restaurant's safe had been emptied of the evening's receipts, estimated by the owner at between $600 and $900. At roughly 2 a.m., police stopped petitioner, who was driving his car slowly by the restaurant. Petitioner was carrying more than $500 in cash. At their request, petitioner took the police officers to the hotel room in which he had been staying since his release from prison the week before. There he showed the officers his receipt for $558.58 paid to him by the Department of Corrections at the time of his release.
The shotgun which had killed Ward was later discovered by the police, broken apart, in two ditches in the surrounding neighborhood. No physical evidence at the crime scene or on the shotgun linked petitioner to the killing. However, after further investigation, petitioner was arrested and indicted.
Aldrich was represented by appointed counsel from the Public Defender's office. The only member of that office who conducted any investigation or undertook any preparation for the trial until two weeks before the trial date was a legal intern in the office, who during the relevant period was not yet a member of the bar. Trial counsel did not exercise the right, under Florida law, to depose any of the State's forty- one prospective witnesses. No one from the Public Defender's office examined any of the State's physical exhibits. Of the seven prospective witnesses identified by the defense before trial, petitioner's counsel had interviewed only two. Pet. for Cert. 12. [479 U.S. 918 , 920]