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In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many r…

Supreme Court rules that a lawyer can’t overrule client’s wish to maintain innocence

SCOTUS
The Supreme court ruled on Monday that a lawyer representing a criminal defendant can’t go against his client’s wish to assert his innocence, even if the attorney is trying to prevent a death penalty ruling.

The justices voted 6-3 in favor of Roy McCoy, a Louisiana death row inmate.

McCoy insisted he was innocent but his attorney, Larry English, went against McCoy’s wishes and told the jury during the trial’s guilt phase that McCoy was guilty of murder but didn’t deserve the death penalty because of his mental state.

Nonetheless, the jury found McCoy guilty and returned a death verdict.

On Monday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who issued the opinion of the court, said that McCoy must be given a new trial.

“The Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant the right to choose the objective of his defense and to insist that his counsel refrain from admitting guilt, even when counsel’s experienced-based view is that confessing guilt offers the defendant the best chance to avoid the death penalty,” Ginsburg wrote.

Justice Samuel Alito filed a dissenting opinion, which Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch joined, arguing that English had admitted that McCoy had killed the victims but never admitted that “the petitioner was guilty of first-degree murder.

“English strenuously argued that petitioner was not guilty of first-degree murder because he lacked the intent required for the offense,” Alito wrote. “So the Court’s newly discovered fundamental right simply does not apply to the real facts of this case.”

Source: The Hill, Luis Sanchez, May 14, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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