485 U.S. 1024 (1988)

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U.S. Supreme Court

MONROE v. BUTLER , 485 U.S. 1024 (1988)

485 U.S. 1024

Ronald S. MONROE
Hilton BUTLER, Warden.
No. 87-1017

Supreme Court of the United States

April 25, 1988

On petition for writ of certiorari to the Criminal District Court for the Parish of Orleans, Louisiana, Division F.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice BRENNAN, dissenting.

Adhering to my view that the death penalty is in all circumstances cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 227, 2950, 49 L. Ed.2d 859 (1976), I would grant the petition for a writ of certiorari and vacate the death sentence in this case.

Justice MARSHALL, dissenting.

I continue to believe that the death penalty is in all circumstances cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 231-241, 2973- 2977 (1976) (MARSHALL, J., dissenting). But even if I did not hold this view, I would grant this petition for certiorari because the state courts refused to grant petitioner appropriate relief for

Page 485 U.S. 1024 , 1025

the State's violation of his rights under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). In so doing, the state courts countenanced impermissible official conduct and left the victim of this conduct without effective constitutional protection.


In 1980, petitioner Ronald Monroe was brought to trial in New Orleans for the murder of Lenora Collins, a neighbor. The State's case against petitioner consisted solely of eyewitness identifications by the victim's two children, both of whom were present when an assailant broke into their mother's bedroom and stabbed her. There was no physical evidence linking petitioner to the offense. The jury, apparently crediting the testimony of the two children, who at the time of the murder were aged 12 and 11, found petitioner guilty of first-degree murder and unanimously recommended the death sentence.

Six months after Monroe's conviction, Detective Joseph Gallardo of the Pontiac, Michigan, Police Department contacted a member of the New Orleans Police Department to relate information pertinent to the murder of Lenora Collins. While investigating one George Stinson's murder of his common-law wife, Detective Gallardo had received a tip suggesting that Stinson also may have murdered Collins, who was Stinson's previous wife. This tip appeared plausible because both women had died from stab wounds to the neck and chest. Two months after imparting this information, Gallardo again called the New Orleans police. This time, Gallardo told Sergeant John McKenzie about a recent interview he had conducted with Stinson's cellmate. In the interview, the cellmate had quoted Stinson as first confessing to the Michigan murder and then stating that "the same thing happened" to Collins. The cellmate also had reported that Stinson had confessed to threatening his stepchildren into identifying petitioner as their mother's killer. According to Gallardo, the Michigan case also contained a suggestion of witness intimidation.

All of this information was transmitted to the New Orleans detectives who had handled the investigation of Collins' murder. These detectives did not make any further inquiries relating to the Collins case. Neither did the detectives inform petitioner or his counsel of Gallardo's communications. Not until two years later did petitioner's counsel discover, through independent investig- [485 U.S. 1024 , 1026]

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