What Last Week’s Supreme Court Opinion May Tell Us about the Current Court

Last week, the Supreme Court issued a per curiam opinion summarily reversing the Texas Court of Criminal appeals and finding that a death row inmate has an intellectual disability. The case doesn’t break new doctrinal ground but it offers some possible insights about how several Justices on the newly constituted Court are positioned on capital cases.

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Supreme Court: Not Unreasonable to Excuse Prospective Juror Who Was “Not Absolutely Certain” He Could Impose Death Penalty

The Supreme Court issued a per curiam opinion yesterday, reversing the Sixth Circuit in a capital case. The opinion doesn’t necessarily break new doctrinal ground but it is an interesting application of existing law, and it provides a window into an ongoing dispute between two federal appellate courts.

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Evidence and Arguments about Prison Life in Capital Cases

During the second phase of a capital trial, the jury must decide whether to sentence the defendant to death or to life in prison. The jury’s perception of prison life may influence that decision. If the jury believes that prison life is comfortable, it may be more inclined to impose a death sentence, while if … Read more

Death Sentences Increase Slightly in North Carolina

I spent a few minutes this morning looking at death penalty data. As most readers know, North Carolina hasn’t had an execution since 2006, as a result of litigation over lethal injection and the Racial Justice Act. But the death penalty remains on the books, the State may seek it, and juries may impose it. … Read more