Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Supreme Court addresses case of the chocolate penis

This is not a joke -- check out Wellons v. Hall, a case that comes out of the 11th Circuit. Here's the AP and the ABA:

The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered a federal appeals court to reconsider the claims of a Georgia death row inmate who is challenging his rape and murder conviction based on some unusual chocolate gifts given to the trial judge and bailiff.
Some jurors hearing the case against defendant Marcus Wellons gave the trial judge chocolate shaped as male genitalia and the bailiff chocolate shaped as female breasts.
In a 5-4
ruling (PDF), the U.S. Supreme Court in a per curiam opinion ordered the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider whether Wellons is entitled to discovery and a hearing in light of a high court ruling last year on behalf of an inmate who contended prosecutors withheld evidence of his drug addiction.
“Neither Wellons nor any court has ascertained exactly what went on at this capital trial or what prompted such ‘gifts,’ ” the Supreme Court wrote in the per curiam opinion. “Wellons has repeatedly tried, in both state and federal court, to find out what occurred, but he has found himself caught in a procedural morass.”
The court said that defense counsel did not learn until after the trial about unreported ex parte contacts between jurors and the judge, that jurors and a bailiff planned a reunion, and that jurors gave the chocolate gifts to the judge and bailiff either during or immediately after the penalty phase of the trial.
“From beginning to end, judicial proceedings conducted for the purpose of deciding whether a defendant shall be put to death must be conducted with dignity and respect,” the Supreme Court said in the per curiam opinion. “The disturbing facts of this case raise serious questions concerning the conduct of the trial, and this petition raises a serious question about whether the Court of Appeals carefully reviewed those facts before addressing petitioner’s constitutional claims.”

Ah, that's just too good. In other news: Judge Jordan sentences the Crime Stoppers cop to two months.

And American Idol is back:


Anonymous said...

Gives new meaning to:
"melts in your mouth, not in your hands"

Anonymous said...

Just goes to show how diligent the 11th circuit is when it comes to protecting defendant's rights.