Friday, April 27, 2007

Supreme Court rules in Texas death penalty jury instruction cases

LaRoyce Smith's was sentaced to death, after his trial judge decided to withold special jury instructions that Smit had a low IQ and attended special education classes. The supreme court reversed this decision. However on remand, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused to remand the trial judge's decision. The court held the lower courts decision to be unconstitutional and decided in two other cases, Abdul-Kabir v. Quarterman and Brewer v. Quarterman, that these were contitutionally relevant factors of a case.

1 comment:

A. Vick said...

Once again Texas is at the front when it comes to backward legal systems. Far from being a radical I believe that there should be an investigation into the Texas legal system. It has shown itself to be extremely prejudice towards minorities when it applies to handing down the death penalty and decidedly against simple civil liberties. They are actively handicapping (no pun intended) defendants who have a history of mental illness or low I.Q.'s by not allowing the jury sufficient time or information as to whether their mental illness or impairment can be taken into consideration. Yes, as a people we have a duty to ensure justice for victims, but we are not to be murderers ourselves if we put to death someone who had a diminished capacity when committing a crime. The law must be progressive and merciful while still punishing those who commit crimes. But in this instance I feel it violates the 8th amendment and is definitely cruel and unusual punishment. And if anything, the courts of Texas are sanctioning murder by jury by not allowing someone's mental historyto be considered more fully by their peers when deciding their fate. Bravo Texas, Bravo. What's next? Are you going to sanction the stoning of adulterous women and the gays now?