1. Interesting to note that in the Songer Appeal that the Appeals Court vote was 11 to 0 to hear the case.
2. Supreme Court Justices (Thurgood) Marshall and Brennan agreed with the basis of the appeal. I think few cases get to the Supreme Court without some reasonable basis for concern about the quality of the justice meted out.
NYT Feb 6, 1985.
“Less than a day before he was to die for killing a state trooper in 1973, Carl Ray Songer won an indefinite stay of execution from a Federal appeals court today, and the United States Supreme Court refused a request by attorneys for the state to intervene. The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, voted 11 to 0 to have the entire court hear Mr. Songer’s case along with that of another Florida death row inmate, James Ernest Hitchcock.”
SONGER v. WAINWRIGHT , 469 U.S. 1133 (1985)
“Songer was convicted in February 1974 of the first-degree murder of a Florida highway patrolman. The evidence at trial showed that Songer was asleep in the back seat of a car lawfully stopped off the highway when the investigating patrolman reached [469 U.S. 1133 , 1134] into the car with his pistol in a ready position. Suddenly thus awakened, Songer grabbed his own gun, and both Songer and the patrolman fired multiple shots. The patrolman died from the injuries he received.”
Marshall and Brennan wrote:
“Because that understanding, and Songer’s consequent death sentence, violated clear principles expressed in Lockett and Eddings, this Court should vacate Songer’s sentence and remand the case for a proper proceeding.”