Wellons v. Warden, Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison, No. 11-14935 (11th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, a death row inmate, appealed the district court's denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254. Petitioner contended that he was denied a fair trial by an impartial judge and unbiased jury because the jury gave the judge and the bailiff inappropriate gag gifts at the conclusion of the trial. Specifically, some jurors gave the judge chocolate candy in the shape of a penis and a bailiff chocolate candy shaped as female breasts. Petitioner also contended that there was racial discrimination in the selection of the jury. The court held that it was not unreasonable for the Georgia Supreme Court to find that petitioner did not prove purposeful discrimination by the state in the selection of the jury. The court also held, without condoning the regrettable behavior of either, that both the jury and the judge remained impartial and unbiased throughout the trial. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's denial of habeas relief.