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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

Florida Supreme Court denies new DNA analysis in death row inmate William 'Tommy' Zeigler's case

William "Tommy" Zeigler
William "Tommy" Zeigler
William "Tommy" Zeigler, the 71-year-old man who has spent the last 4 decades on death row for the murders of 4 people, will not be allowed to test evidence in his case with touch DNA technology, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Zeigler was convicted of killing his wife, her parents and another man at his Winter Garden furniture store on Dec. 24, 1975. 

The case has long attracted those skeptical of the evidence against Zeigler, including 1 of the original investigators and a former Orlando Sentinel newspaper editor. 

It was also the subject of a 1992 book called Fatal Flaw.

In 2015, his attorneys filed a motion seeking court approval to use a special DNA test to examine evidence, such as clothing and the guns found at the scene, presented at the trial. 

A circuit court denied the motion, and his attorneys appealed to the state's highest court. 

While Zeigler sits on death row awaiting an execution date, he is also sentenced to serve the rest of his life in prison.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, April 22, 2017

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