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October 15, 2006

Still more Texas capital clean-up for SCOTUS

As detailed in posts at SCOTUSblog and at Crime & Consequences, on Friday the Supreme Court added another set of Texas death penalty cases to its docket.  Here are the basics from SCOTUSblog:

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a new death penalty case from Texas. It granted review of two cases, and consolidated them for oral argument: Abdul-Kabir v . Quarterman (05-11284) and Brewer v. Quarterman (05-11287).  The case involves another test of whether Texas juries have an adequate opportunity, in capital cases, to consider mitigating factors when deciding whether to impose a death sentence. A lawyer for the two men told the Court in the two appeals that the Fifth Circuit Court has consistently failed to follow Supreme Court precedent on the mitigation issue.

I wonder if anyone has charted how many capital cases SCOTUS has reviewed from Texas, California and Arizona in, say, the last decade.  My own impression is that the Justices give a whole lot of their ever-shrinking docket to (micro)managing capital punishment procedures in a few states.

October 15, 2006 at 07:42 AM | Permalink


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» The Supreme Court and Texas Death Penalty Cases from StandDown Texas Project
I'm back in Austin from travels and catching up. The big news is the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to grant cert in two more Texas death penalty cases. Patty Reinert's story in the Saturday Houston Chronicle is here.The U.S. Supreme [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 15, 2006 3:49:04 PM


It's true, Doug, but if the Supremes don't manage the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals they'll really be hanging us out to dry. We have a court that has voted to keep a man incarcerated in the face of exonerating DNA evidnece. Each high court decision in Texas is a new adventure and stare decisis is a joke - whatever ruling benefits the prosecutors (often involving the phrase "harmless error" in far from harmless circumstances) that's what they give out, typically, and screw the precedent.

When that attitude is applied toward drug cases, it's a scandal. When it's applied to the death penalty, the stakes are so high I think the Supremes are right to step in.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Oct 15, 2006 9:10:17 AM

You are right about the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, they are not giving defendants a fair chance of proper review.

If there is an error, it should not be harmless.
Law Student.

Posted by: | Oct 16, 2006 11:29:00 PM

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