This article needs additional citations for verification .(February 2011)
|Tison v. Arizona|
|Argued November 3, 1986|
Decided April 21, 1987
|Full case name||Raymond and Ricky Tison v. State of Arizona|
|Citations||481 U.S. 137 ( more )|
|Prior||Convictions affirmed by the Supreme Court of Arizona, 633 P.2d 335 (Ariz. 1981), and denial of post-conviction relief affirmed by the Supreme Court of Arizona, 690 P.2d 747 (Ariz. 1984); cert. granted, 475 U.S. 1010(1986).|
|The death penalty may be imposed due to the felony murder rule on a murder defendant who did not intend to cause the death, but was a major participant in the underlying felony and exhibits extreme indifference to human life.|
|Majority||O'Connor, joined by Rehnquist, White, Powell, Scalia|
|Dissent||Brennan, joined by Marshall; Blackmun, Stevens (parts I, II, III, IV-A)|
|U.S. Const. amend. VIII|
Tison v. Arizona, 481 U.S. 137 (1987), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court qualified the rule it set forth in Enmund v. Florida (1982). Just as in Enmund, in Tison the Court applied the proportionality principle to conclude that the death penalty was an appropriate punishment for a felony murderer who was a major participant in the underlying felony and exhibited a reckless indifference to human life.
This case stems from an infamous prison break during the summer of 1978. Gary Tison was serving a life sentence at the Arizona State Prison in Florence for killing a prison guard. His three sons, Donald, Ricky, and Raymond, plotted to break him and his cellmate, Randy Greenawalt, out of prison. On July 30, 1978, the sons entered the prison for a visit, taking advantage of a policy that allowed an informal picnic setting for weekend family visits, carrying an ice chest packed with revolvers and sawed-off shotguns.One of them aimed a sawed-off shotgun at a lobby guard. Greenawalt helped in the escape by cutting off telephones and alarm systems.
They escaped in Donald Tison's 1969 Lincoln Continental, but the next day, one of the Lincoln's tires blew out on a stretch of road not far from the California border, near Quartzsite. Marine Sgt. John Lyons, 24, of Yuma, traveling with his wife, son, and niece on his way to visit family in Nebraska, stopped to help.
While Raymond Tison was showing John Lyons the flat tire, the other escapees emerged from the brush. Raymond forced the Lyonses into the Lincoln, and then he and Donald drove the Lincoln down a service road. Meanwhile, the other Tisons transferred their belongings into the Lyonses' car, keeping the Lyonses' money and guns. Gary Tison shot out the radiator on the Lincoln and forced the Lyonses out. John Lyons began begging Gary Tison for his life; Gary Tison remarked that he was "thinking about" killing the Lyonses. Gary told Raymond and Ricky to go back to the Lyonses' car and get some water. According to Raymond, while they were gone, Gary started shooting the Lyonses; according to Ricky, the shooting began once they returned with the water. The two agreed that they had returned in time to watch the elder Tison and Greenawalt kill the Lyonses. Their bodies were found five days later.
Then, in Colorado, police believe that on August 8 the gang murdered James Judge Jr. and his new wife, Margene. The Amarillo, Texas couple were honeymooning in southwestern Colorado at the time. (Their bodies were not found until November 1978, at a campsite near Pagosa Springs, Colorado.) The gang returned to Arizona, and were driving the Judges' van on Chuichu Road on the Papago Indian Reservation (now the Tohono Oʼodham Nation), when they encountered a police roadblock.They ran the roadblock, and a shootout took place at a second roadblock, south of Casa Grande, Arizona.
Donald Tison, who was driving the van, was killed at the scene; the others fled on foot. Raymond, Ricky, and Greenawalt were quickly caught, but Gary Tison escaped into the desert. Over 300 police officers and hundreds of volunteers searched for him, but he eluded them. He did not elude the August desert — he died of exposure.His body was found eleven days after the shootout.
Greenawalt and the surviving Tisons were charged with 92 crimes, including four counts of murder. (No charges were brought for the murder of the Judges, and Colorado authorities closed the cases when the surviving gang members were convicted in Arizona.)
The two remaining Tison brothers were tried individually for capital murder in the deaths of the Lyonses. The murder charges were predicated on Arizona's felony-murder statute, which provided that killings that occurred during a robbery or kidnapping were first-degree, death-eligible murders. The Tison brothers were convicted. At a separate sentencing hearing, three aggravating factors were proved: the Tisons had created a grave risk of death to others, the murders were committed for pecuniary gain, and the murders were especially heinous, cruel, or depraved. The Arizona Supreme Court upheld the death sentences. In the intervening years, the Supreme Court decided Enmund v. Florida, leading the Tison brothers to bring a collateral attack on their sentences, claiming that Enmund required their death sentences to be struck down. The Arizona Supreme Court rejected this argument, asserting that the dictates of Enmund had been satisfied because the intent requirement of that case could be inferred from the fact that death was a foreseeable result of participating in a dangerous felony.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing for the majority, concluded that the death penalty would be appropriate for a murder like the ones the Tisons had been convicted of if it could be shown that the defendant was a major participant in the underlying felony and had acted with reckless indifference to human life. In Kennedy v. Louisiana , 554 U.S. 407 (2008), the Court added with respect to the defendants in Tison it "allowed the defendants’ death sentences to stand where they did not themselves kill the victims but their involvement in the events leading up to the murders was active, recklessly indifferent, and substantial."
Later, the death penalties of Ricky and Raymond Tison were reduced to life sentences because they were both under 20 at the time of the crimes. Greenawalt was executed in 1997.
The 1978 escape has been the subject of two films:
Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the U.S. state of Indiana. The last man executed in the state, excluding federal executions at Terre Haute, was the murderer Matthew Wrinkles in 2009.
The rule of felony murder is a legal doctrine in some common law jurisdictions that broadens the crime of murder: when someone is killed in the commission of a dangerous or enumerated crime, the offender, and also the offender's accomplices or co-conspirators, may be found guilty of murder.
Arizona State Prison Complex – Florence also known as Florence State Prison (FSP) is one of 13 prison facilities operated by the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC). The main FSP prison is located in Florence, Arizona. The Florence complex used to include a unit in Picacho in unincorporated Pinal County however, the Picacho Unit was closed and destroyed in early 2013. The Globe Unit in Globe is also a part of Florence Complex.
Gregg v. Georgia, Proffitt v. Florida, Jurek v. Texas, Woodson v. North Carolina, and Roberts v. Louisiana, 428 U.S. 153 (1976), is a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. It reaffirmed the Court's acceptance of the use of the death penalty in the United States, upholding, in particular, the death sentence imposed on Troy Leon Gregg. The set of cases is referred to by a leading scholar as the July 2 Cases, and elsewhere referred to by the lead case Gregg. The court set forth the two main features that capital sentencing procedures must employ in order to comply with the Eighth Amendment ban on "cruel and unusual punishments". The decision essentially ended the de facto moratorium on the death penalty imposed by the Court in its 1972 decision in Furman v. Georgia 408 U.S. 238 (1972).
Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court applied the rule of Apprendi v. New Jersey to capital sentencing schemes, holding that the Sixth Amendment requires a jury to find the aggravating factors necessary for imposing the death penalty. Ring overruled a portion of Walton v. Arizona, which had rejected that contention.
Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584 (1977), held that the death penalty for rape of an adult woman was grossly disproportionate and excessive punishment, and therefore unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A few states continued to have child rape statutes that authorized the death penalty. In Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008), the court expanded Coker, ruling that the death penalty is unconstitutional in all cases that do not involve homicide or crimes against the State.
Brandon Wade Hein was sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole for his involvement in the 1995 stabbing murder of 16-year-old Jimmy Farris, the son of a Los Angeles Police Department officer. Hein and two other youths who were present when the murder took place, as well as the actual killer, and were convicted under the felony murder rule because the murder was committed during the course of a felony – the attempted robbery of marijuana kept for sale by Farris's friend, Michael McLoren. Under the felony murder rule, any participant in a felony is criminally responsible for any death that occurs during its commission. In 2009, Hein's life sentence was commuted to 29 years to life.
Most jurisdictions in the United States of America maintain the felony murder rule. In essence, the felony murder rule states that when an offender kills in the commission of a dangerous or enumerated crime, the offender, and also the offender's accomplices or co-conspirators, may be found guilty of murder. It means that the common law malice required for murder is "implied as a matter of law for homicides arising from felonies." It is a widely criticized feature of American criminal law. Initially, it was widely believed by scholars that the felony murder rule had originated in England. However, more recent scholarship has argued that it likely originated in America separately from England. Its historic roots have been called "deep but terribly obscure".
Enmund v. Florida, 458 U.S. 782 (1982), is a United States Supreme Court case. It was a 5–4 decision in which the United States Supreme Court applied its capital proportionality principle, to set aside the death penalty for the driver of a getaway car, in a robbery-murder of an elderly Floridian couple. The court ruled that the imposition of the death penalty under the felony murder rule when the defendant did not intentionally kill the victim constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment of the United States constitution.
Walton v. Arizona, 497 U.S. 639 (1990), was a United States Supreme Court case that upheld two important aspects of the capital sentencing scheme in Arizona—judicial sentencing and the aggravating factor "especially heinous, cruel, or depraved"—as not unconstitutionally vague. The Court overruled the first of these holdings in Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002). The second of these holdings has yet to be overturned.
Bruce Alfred Johnston Sr. was the leader of one of the most notorious gangs in the history of Pennsylvania, U.S. The gang started in the 1960s and was rounded up in 1978 after his son, Bruce Jr., testified against him. The 1986 film At Close Range is based loosely on Johnston's gang.
Capital punishment was abolished in Colorado in 2020. It was legal from 1974 until 2020 prior to it being abolished in all future cases.
Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the U.S. state of Florida.
On July 30, 2010, three inmates escaped from the Kingman Arizona State Prison, operated as a for-profit medium-security prison in Golden Valley by Utah's Management and Training Corporation. It was owned by the Mohave County Industrial Development Authority. A female accomplice assisted the escape. Over the next three weeks, local law enforcement captured prisoners Daniel Renwick in Colorado; Tracy Province in Wyoming; and finally, with the U.S. Marshals, John McCluskey in Arizona, along with the trio's accomplice Casslyn Welch.
A Killer in the Family is a 1983 American made-for-television crime film directed by Richard T. Heffron. The film is based on the Tison v. Arizona case, which took place in Arizona in 1978. The film first aired on ABC on October 30, 1983, and was released on DVD by Warner Home Video in 2010.
Dawson v. Delaware, 503 U.S. 159 (1992), was a United States Supreme Court decision that ruled that a person's rights of association and due process, as granted under the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, cannot be infringed upon if such an association has no bearing on the case at hand.
Last Rampage is a 2017 American crime drama film directed by Dwight Little. The screenplay by Alvaro Rodriguez and Jason Rosenblatt is based on the non-fiction book Last Rampage: The Escape of Gary Tison by University of Arizona Political Science Professor James W. Clarke, and details the true story of Tison's 1978 prison escape and subsequent murders. The film stars Robert Patrick as Tison, Heather Graham as his wife Dorothy, and Chris Browning as his accomplice Randy Greenawalt. Bruce Davison plays a fictional law enforcement official pursuing Tison, and Alex MacNicoll, Skyy Moore, and Casey Thomas Brown portray Tison's three sons.
Jennifer Ann Mee is a convicted American murderer known as the "Hiccup Girl" for her long-lasting case of the hiccups. Mee appeared on national American television shows such as NBC's Today Show many times. Mee was arrested for first-degree murder in 2010. After a trial she was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2013. M. William Phelps wrote a book about her that was published in 2016. Her transmutation from "media darling" to convicted murderer attracted renewed national attention. Her conviction and sentence have received criticism in a law review that alleges that if she were male she would have been sentenced more leniently.
Murder in Wisconsin constitutes the intentional killing, under circumstances defined by law, of people within or under the jurisdiction of the U.S. state of Wisconsin.
Randall Greenawalt was an American serial killer and mass murderer. Originally sentenced to life imprisonment for two murders committed in 1974, Greenawalt later became notorious for escaping together with fellow murderer Gary Tison and his three sons from prison, embarking on a two-week killing spree through Arizona and Colorado that left six people dead in 1978. He was promptly sentenced to death and thereafter executed in 1997, with his case serving as the basis for the Supreme Court decision Tison v. Arizona.