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July 20, 2005

Fifth Circuit vacates death sentence

The Fifth Circuit today in Brooks v. Dretke, No. 04-70023 (5th Cir. July 20, 2005) (available here), vacated a death sentence.  That's right, the Fifth Circuit vacate a death sentence.  Here's the opening paragraph of the decision (per Judge Higginbotham):

On the first day of the sentencing phase of his capital trial, a member of the jury that had convicted Carl L. Brooks was arrested for the misdemeanor offense of unlawfully carrying a weapon and faced prosecution by the district attorney's office then prosecuting Brooks.  A loaded pistol was found in his briefcase in the routine screening of a security checkpoint in the courthouse.  Whether this jury misconduct tainted the jury's sentencing decision of death is the only issue remaining in this case today.  We are persuaded that while the conviction of capital murder must stand the sentence of death must be vacated.

July 20, 2005 at 01:52 PM | Permalink

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