Boyer v. Louisiana

PETITIONER:Jonathan Edward Boyer
LOCATION: Road in Sulphur Louisiana

DOCKET NO.: 11-9953
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2010-2016)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 569 US (2013)
GRANTED: Oct 05, 2012
ARGUED: Jan 14, 2013
DECIDED: Apr 29, 2013

Carla S. Sigler – for the respondent
Richard Bourke – for the petitioner

Facts of the case

In 2002, Jonathan Edward Boyer and his brother Anthony walked along a roadway in Sulphur, Louisiana. When Bradlee Marsh gave the brothers a ride, Boyer demanded money from Marsh. Marsh refused, and Boyer shot him in the head three times and took his money and a silver chain. Marsh died from his injuries.

Boyer was indicted in Louisiana state court on second-degree murder and armed robbery with a firearm charges. The jury found Boyer guilty on both counts. Boyer filed a motion for a new trial, but was denied. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the second-degree murder charge, and 104 years without parole for the armed robbery charge. On appeal, Boyer argued that that the trial court erred in determining his mental competency, by sustaining the State’s objection to Boyer’s attempt to present testimony showing his brother – Anthony – had violent tendencies, and by giving Jonathan Boyer an excessively long sentence. The court of appeals affirmed the convictions, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion and did not prejudice Boyer.


Should a state’s failure to fund counsel for an indigent defendant for five years be weighed against the state for speedy trial purposes?

Is a defendant’s due process right to present a complete defense, to compulsory process, and to confront the witnesses against him violated when relevant and reliable expert testimony as to the psychology of interrogations and false confessions is excluded at trial?

Media for Boyer v. Louisiana

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – January 14, 2013 in Boyer v. Louisiana

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – April 29, 2013 in Boyer v. Louisiana

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

In case 11-9953, Boyer versus Louisiana, the petition for a writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted.

Justice Alito has filed a concurring opinion in which Justices Scalia and Thomas have joined.

Justice Sotomayor has filed the dissenting opinion in which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan have joined.