High Court Stays Execution Where Judge Overrode Jury Recommendation

By Christopher Zoukis A little over two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court in Hurst v. Florida ruled 8-1 it was unconstitutional for state judges to overrule jury sentencing recommendations in death penalty cases. The high court ruled a criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury was…

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High Court Will Hear Inmate’s Challenge to Lawyer’s Admission of His Guilt

lady justice figure

By Christopher Zoukis During its new term started in October, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of McCoy v. Louisiana, which asks whether a Death Row inmate can appeal a death sentence because his lawyer, over the inmate’s strenuous objections, admitted his client’s guilt during his trial. Robert…

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Eighth Circuit Greenlights Jail Detainee’s Excessive Force Claim, but Loss at Trial Affirmed on Appeal

By Christopher Zoukis The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed a district court’s ruling that held a jail detainee’s excessive force and assault and battery claims could not go forward. Henry M. Davis was arrested in Ferguson, Missouri for driving while intoxicated between 3 and 4 a.m. on…

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Inmates Lose Court Challenge to Ohio’s Execution Drugs

syringe and three vials of medication

By Christopher Zoukis A divided federal court of appeals has rejected a challenge to the three-drug execution protocol Ohio plans to use. The state had suspended executions for more than three years due to litigation attacking its three-drug lethal injection method, and to its inability to obtain barbiturates formerly used…

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Third Circuit Reverses Denial of Class Certification

by Christopher Zoukis The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has resurrected a challenge to the constitutionality of 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that requires mandatory detention of undocumented immigrants who have committed certain crimes. The challenge was brought in 2012 by…

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Supervised Release Conditions Premature

By Christopher Zoukis The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held it was premature to file a request to revise conditions of supervised release 14 years before those conditions were to go into effect. The terse per curium ruling, issued on September 6, 2016, disallowed federal prisoner Andre Williams’ request to…

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Georgia Executions Resume, Inmate’s Firing Squad Request Denied

By Christopher Zoukis The state of Georgia, which carried out the highest number of executions in the nation last year, putting nine convicted criminals to death, recorded its first for this year May 17 by administering a three-drug lethal injection protocol to J.W. Ledford Jr., a criminal who spent years…

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Supreme Court Sets Aside Death Sentence for Triple Murderer

By Christopher Zoukis In a brief, unsigned opinion handed down October 11, the U.S. Supreme Court has thrown out the death sentence an Oklahoma jury gave Shaun Michael Bosse after convicting him in 2010 of the first-degree murders of his former girlfriend and her two young children. Bosse fatally stabbed…

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