ANDREWS v. SHULSEN
Annotate this Case
485 U.S. 919 (1988)
U.S. Supreme Court
ANDREWS v. SHULSEN , 485 U.S. 919 (1988)
485 U.S. 919
Kenneth SHULSEN, Warden, et al.
Supreme Court of the United States
February 29, 1988
Rehearing Denied April 18, 1988.
See 485 U.S. 1015.
On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
Justice MARSHALL, with whom Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting.
Adhering to my view that the death penalty is in all circumstances cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, see Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 231-241, 2973-2977 (1976) (MARSHALL, J., dissenting), I would grant the petition for certiorari and vacate petitioner's death sentence. Even if I did not hold this view, I would grant the petition because petitioner William Andrews was convicted of murder and sentenced to death under circumstances raising grave concerns
of impermissible racial bias. These circumstances include a midtrial incident in which a juror handed the bailiff a napkin with a drawing of a man on a gallows above the inscription, "Hang the Niggers." The District Court in this case refused even to undertake an evidentiary hearing to investigate petitioner's substantial allegations of racial prejudice. The Constitution cannot countenance such indifference and summary treatment when a person's life is at stake.
Petitioner was convicted for his role in a multiple murder during the robbery of a hi-fi shop in Ogden, Utah. The ringleader of the crimes, Dale Pierre, was executed last year. Evidence at trial indicated that petitioner had a substantially less active role in the murders than Pierre . The two men entered the shop together and forced five people into the store's basement. There the victims were forced to drink liquid drain cleaner, which induced violent vomiting. One of the two victims who survived the robbery testified that petitioner said, "I can't do it, I'm scared," and that petitioner left the scene shortly thereafter. Only after petitioner left did Pierre carry out, in particularly gruesome fashion, the multiple murders for which petitioner has been sentenced to die. Pet. for Cert. 3.
The murders understandably attracted substantial attention in the local press and the community from which the jury venire was drawn. The incident also may have generated racist sentiments, inasmuch as the defendants were black people and the victims were white members of the local community. The single black member of the venire was excluded, and an all-white jury was empaneled.
An ugly racial incident involving the jury occurred during the trial. The jury was eating lunch in a separate dining room when a juror presented the bailiff with a drawing that had been made on a napkin. The drawing represented a stick figure hanging on a gallows. Underneath the figure were the words, "Hang the Niggers." The bailiff was unable to say who had made the drawing or how many other jurors had seen it, although he did inform the court that "some of the jurors" had asked him "what the court may do about this." The only action the trial court took in response was to issue a general instruction to the jury to "ignore communications from foolish people." Id., at 9-10, and n. 4. [485 U.S. 919 , 921]