[eDebate] Death penalty upheld by S. Ct.
scottelliott at grandecom.net
Mon Jun 26 10:23:36 CDT 2006
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Alito Breaks Tie, Kan. Death Penalty Stays
Monday, June 26, 2006 10:34 AM EDT
The Associated Press
By GINA HOLLAND
WASHINGTON (AP) ? New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito broke a tie Monday to
rule that Kansas' death penalty law is constitutional.
By a 5-to-4 vote, the justices said the Kansas Supreme Court incorrectly
interpreted the Eighth Amendment's protection against cruel and unusual
punishment to strike down the state's death penalty statute.
The Kansas court said the state's death penalty law improperly forced jurors to
impose a capital sentence even if they believed that the prosecution and
defense evidence were equal in weight.
But the justices disagreed. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas
disputed the claim by critics that the law created "a general presumption in
favor of the death penalty in the state of Kansas."
The ruling affirms the court's long-held position that states should determine
how juries weigh factors presented by the prosecution and defense in capital
Fifteen states filed friend-of-the-court briefs, predicting that a ruling in
convicted murderer Michael Lee Marsh's favor would have required states with
capital punishment to set up systems for juries to weigh evidence at
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