Supreme Court Tosses Three Texas Death Sentences
The Supreme Court today threw out three Texas death sentences.
The cases all stem from jury instructions that Texas hasn't used since 1991. Under those rules, courts have found that jurors were not allowed to give sufficient weight to factors that might cause them to impose a life sentence instead of death.
The cases were decided by a 5-4 majority, with Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter and John Paul Stevens voting to overturn the sentences.
Via How Appealing:
Lyle Denniston has this post at "SCOTUSblog." You can access the opinion in Smith v. Texas, No. 05-11304, here and the oral argument transcript here. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy issued the majority opinion in a case that divided the U.S. Supreme Court 5-4.
The Court today also issued decisions in two other death penalty cases that were orally argued together (access the transcript here): Abdul-Kabir v. Quarterman, No. 05-11284 (opinion here) and Brewer v. Quarterman, No. 05-11287 (opinion here).
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