CASE BRIEF FOR THE WINDSOR V
WINDSOR V. STATE OF ALABAMA
683 So. 2d 1021 (1994)
Judicial History: Harvey Lee Windsor was convicted of capital murder under § 13-A-5-40 (a)(2), Code of Alabama 1975. The jury unanimously recommended the death penalty and the trial court accepted the jury’s recommendation and sentenced the appellant to death by electrocution. Windsor then appealed the conviction and sentence to the Court of Criminal Appeals.
Facts: Harvey Lee Windsor and Lavon Gunthrie were charge of the offense of robbery and murder of Rayford Howard in his store in St. Clair County. The appellant appealed the conviction and sentence to the Court of Criminal Appeals. The court reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial, holding that the prosecutor had improperly referred to Windsor’s failure to testify at trial and holding that the circuit clerk’s practice of excusing potential jurors to whom jury service would prove burdensome constituted reversible error.
(1) Did Windsor’s trial and conviction violate his rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment?
(2) Did the prosecutor make improper comments during his closing argument that made a difference on how the case was decided?
Fifth Amendment – Protection from Self-Incrimination
Fourteenth Amendment – Due Process Clause
Washington v. State, 259 Ala. 102
Stephens v. State, 65 So. 2d 704
Ala.Crim.App 1990, 580 So. 2d 26
Analysis: The Appellant argues that he was denied a fair and impartial trial because according to him, the practice of allowing the clerk’s office personnel to excuse jurors resulted in certain classes of jurors being under-represented. “The trial court’s statement during the hearing that it had not actually excused any of these potential jurors at that time. And that in light of the reasons given by the jurors who were excused and the number of jurors remaining on the panel prior to voir dire, no reversible error occurred.”
The Court of Appeals said that