Capital Sentencing Guide

FOLLOWER

FOLLOWER 

[This category consists of cases where the defendant argued that he was a follower under the influence of someone else. This is in contrast to cases where the defendant argued that he was a minor participant in the crime, or did not have the intent to kill. For those cases, see minor participation section or felony murder/lack of intent section.]

State v. Libberton, 141 Ariz. 132, 685 P.2d 1284 (1984)
The defendant argued that he is a follower and that he merely followed the lead of his codefendant, James, in committing the murder. The Court found that the defendant actively participated in the crime and even pointed the gun at the victim while traveling to the mineshaft where the victim was finally killed.

State v. Gerlaugh (Gerlaugh II), 144 Ariz. 449, 698 P.2d 694 (1985)
The defendant argued that because of his youth he is a passive nonaggressive individual who is easily influenced by others. He argued that these crimes are the result of the domineering influence of his codefendant. The psychiatrist noted that the defendant had a history of associating with wild companions and that he sought out the company of such people to hurt others and escape the consequences of his actions. The trial court specifically found that the defendant was the leader and not a follower in the commission of the murder. There was no reasonable probability that the defendant's age would be a mitigating circumstance sufficiently substantial to outweigh the aggravating circumstances.

State v. Kemp, 185 Ariz. 52, 912 P.2d 1281 (1996)
The defendant argued in his sentencing memorandum that he was a follower based on the evidence presented at trial. Because he did not offer any evidence or present witnesses, the Court agreed with the trial court that he did not prove the existence of any mitigation.

State v. Miller, 186 Ariz. 314, 921 P.2d 1151 (1996)
Miller argued that the trial court failed to consider specific instances of nonstatutory mitigation, including that he was only a follower, which he raised for the first time on appeal. But the trial court said that it had considered all statutory and nonstatutory mitigation, including mitigation that Miller did not offer. Moreover, this alleged mitigating factor was not supported by the record.

State v. Chad Lee (Reynolds, Lacey murders), 189 Ariz. 590, 944 P.2d 1204 (1997)
The defendant argued that he was a follower and that he became involved with people and situations that he did not have the ability to control. The Court agreed that the trial court properly rejected this as mitigation. The defendant was armed with his own weapon in both murders, initiated both robberies by making the phone calls, pulled the trigger in both murders, and stabbed Reynolds.

State v. (Frank Winfield) Anderson, 210 Ariz. 327, 111P.3d 639 ( 2005) Jury Trial/Indep. Review
While there was evidence that Anderson’s I.Q. was below average and that he did not have a leader-type personality, this was accorded very little weight, since Anderson was “not mentally retarded, unable to make his own decisions, or lacking in the capacity to judge right from wrong.”

State v. McGill, 213 Ariz. 147, 140 P.3d 930 (2006) Jury Trial/Indep. Review
Claim that defendant was under the influence of his girlfriend lacked a causal connection to the crime.

CONTINUE TO GOOD CHARACTER