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Joyner v. Barnes

United States Supreme Court

June 29, 2015

Carlton Joyner, Warden, Petitioner
v.
William Leroy Barnes; and Carlton Joyner, Warden, Petitioner
v.
Jason Wayne Hurst

Editorial Note:

This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the printed official reporter.

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan.

OPINION

Motions of respondents for leave to proceed in forma pauperis granted. Petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denied.

DISSENT

JUSTICE THOMAS, with whom JUSTICE ALITO joins, dissenting from the denial of certiorari.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit made the same error in these cases that we have repeatedly summarily reversed this Term. I see no reason why these cases, which involve capital [135 S.Ct. 2644] sentences that the State of North Carolina has a strong interest in imposing, should be treated differently. We should be consistent, and use our discretionary review authority to correct this error.

I

This petition arises from two cases, which involve two separate defendants and trials. I discuss each in turn.

A

On October 29, 1992, William Leroy Barnes accompanied two other men, Robert Lewis Blakney and Frank Junior Chambers, to the home of B. P. Tutterow and his wife, Ruby, with the intent to rob them. State v. Barnes, 345 N.C. 184, 200, 481 S.E.2d 44, 51 (1997). The three targeted the Tutterows because Chambers knew that B. P., a deputy sheriff who worked at a jail where he had been held, often carried a significant amount of cash in his wallet. In the course of the robbery, Barnes and Chambers shot and killed the Tutterows. They then went to the apartment of some friends, where Barnes and Chambers showed off the guns they had stolen from the Tutterows.

The three men were tried together on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, and one count of first-degree burglary. The jury found them guilty on all counts. During the penalty phase of the trial, Chambers' attorney warned the jurors as follows that they would answer for their vote before God:

" All of us will stand in judgment one day. . . . [D]oes a true believer want to explain to God, yes, I did violate one of your commandments. Yes, I know they are not the ten suggestions. They are the ten commandments. I know it says, Thou shalt not kill, but I did it because the laws of man said I could. You can never justify violating a law of God by saying the laws of man allowed it. ...

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