LOCATION: Rhode Island District Court
DOCKET NO.: 84-1236
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
CITATION: 474 US 376 (1986)
ARGUED: Nov 05, 1985
DECIDED: Jan 22, 1986
Joseph T. Mc Laughlin - on behalf of the respondent
Joseph T. McLaughlin - for respondent
Marvin L. White, Jr. - on behalf of the petitioners
Facts of the case
Media for Cabana v. Bullock
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 05, 1985 in Cabana v. Bullock
Warren E. Burger:
We will hear arguments next in Cabana against Bullock.
Mr. White, I think you may proceed whenever you are ready.
Marvin L. White, Jr.:
Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court, we are here today seeking a clarification of the Court's holding in Enmund versus Florida.
This needed clarification comes about from what we contend to be an erroneous interpretation placed on Inman by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Further, there has developed in this area a split among the circuits as to how, when, and by whom these Enmund criteria findings are to be made.
The Fifth Circuit has held in several cases, this being one of them, that there must be some talismanic jury finding of the factors while the Eleventh Circuit holds that Enmund is a question of proportionality and can be found from the record by an appellate court.
The basic procedural background of this particular case is that Mr. Bullock was convicted by the Circuit Court of Hines County in 1979.
The conviction and sentence was affirmed in August of 1980 by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
And then this Court denied cert in 1981.
In this interim there after Enmund was decided in 1982, the District Court entered an opinion in this case on the habeas denying the write of habeas corpus in June of 1983, and then the Fifth Circuit reversed this Court, the District Court, in 1984.
The facts, of course, that give rise to this case are that on the night of September the 21st, 1978, the petitioner and a fellow named Rickie Tucker and some other friends went to a night spot in Jackson and at the end of the evening, when the place closed, they were found, Bullock and his friend were found without a ride, and their friends had left them there, and Mark Dickson offered them a ride home.
On the way there, there developed some altercation after stopping to buy a loaf of bread and finding none there.
Bullock borrowed money from Mark Dickson.
There developed an altercation over some drugs or some payment for drugs.
It is not really clear in the record what it is.
Dickson says, I don't have any money.
You can take my car as payment.
They got back in the car after this, and drove a little further on.
Dickson stopped the car and began to fight with Rickie Tucker, who was in the back seat of the car.
Tucker ordered or told Bullock to grab hold of Dickson, which he did.
Dickson broke away, got out of the car, ran down the road, then, pursued by Tucker this whole time.
Dickson... I mean, Bullock had a cast on his leg, and he followed these people down the road, these two, and joined in the fray again, grabbing Bullock by the hair... I mean Dickson by the hair of the head, and was hit himself by Tucker wielding a whiskey bottle as he hit Mr. Dickson on the head, cutting his hand.
The evidence shows that Mr. Dickson was killed by having his skull crushed by concrete blocks, and then Bullock and Dickson disposed of the body that night.
Tucker wanted to burn the car and the body.
Dickson said no... I mean, Bullock said, no, let's take the car.
And they buried... took the body and submerged it in a lake, Bullock wading out into the lake with the cast on and everything, making sure the body was securely under the water after weighting it down with concrete blocks.
Now, some two days later Bullock was arrested while riding Dickson's car.
Tucker was also tried in this case, and in the case there it went to a jury also.
The jury decided in that case to give Mr. Tucker the life sentence.
The jury in this case, of course, imposed the death penalty.