U.S. Supreme Court

Justice O'Connor on Executions

Justice O'Connor on Executions NEW YORK TIMES

July 5, 2001

Justice O'Connor on Executions

An anti-death-penalty activist could not have put it more pointedly: "If statistics are any indication, the system may well be allowing some innocent defendants to be executed." Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's remarkable statement on Monday to a group of women lawyers in Minnesota should further energize the nation's continuing re-examination of capital punishment. Justice O'Connor, whose support of the death penalty dates back to hey

The Death Penalty's Cloudy Future

The Death Penalty's Cloudy Future CBSNews.com

April 26, 2002

The Death Penalty's Cloudy Future
By Andrew Cohn
CBSNews.com Legal Analyst

Just three days after the Supreme Court heard a death penalty case and scheduled another one for next term, and just one week after a landmark commission in Illinois released its ominous findings on how the penalty is meted out, a federal judge in New York threatened to declare the federal death penalty unconstitutional in general.

Are these isolated and coincidental actions by unconnected jurists?

Justices to Review Death Penalty: Supreme Court Will Decide if Judge's Panel is Constitutional

Justices to review death penalty

Rocky Mountain News
January 12, 2002

Justices to review death penalty--Supreme Court will decide if judge's panel is constitutional

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to review an Arizona death penalty case that could change Colorado's method of imposing death sentences. "It could eliminate the Colorado death penalty scheme," defense lawyer David Lane said.

It also could spare the lives of 3 of the 6 men now on Colorado's death row.

The issue before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether it

Justices' Review of Death Penalty Met with Shock

Justices' review of death penalty met with shock

Orlando Sentinel 2/7/02
Feb. 7, 2002

The architects of Florida's death-penalty law were caught by surprise when the U.S. Supreme Court stalled executions in the state Tuesday while the justices determine if laws here and in 8 other states are unconstitutional.

Florida and the other states affected -- Arizona, Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Montana and Nebraska -- allow a judge, rather than a jury, to decide if a criminal is put to death.

Ruling Could Force Florida to Commute Execution

Ruling could force Florida to commute execution

Miami Herald
Tue, Feb. 12, 2002

Some of Florida's most notorious murderers could see their sentences commuted to life in prison -- and many could even apply for parole -- depending on how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in a murder case out of Arizona. In its most far-reaching capital punishment case since the 1970s, the court will decide whether it is constitutional for a judge, rather than a jury, to sentence convicted killers to death. Judges make the final decisions in Florida, Arizona and seven other states.

The Law Is Left Twisting Slowly in the Wind

The Law Is Left Twisting Slowly in the Wind LOS ANGELES TIMES

December 17, 2000

The Law Is Left Twisting Slowly in the Wind


In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court held, 5 to 4, that evidence of race discrimination in Georgia's use of the death penalty was not enough to invalidate a death sentence under the equal protection clause of the federal Constitution. During the court's private deliberations (as Justice Thurgood Marshall's papers have disclosed), Justice Antonin Scalia admitted that

Major Death Penalty Appeal Accepted

Major Death Penalty Appeal Accepted NEW YORK TIMES

January 12, 2002


WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 — The Supreme Court agreed today to decide a potentially far-reaching challenge to the constitutionality of the death penalty laws in nine states where judges rather than juries determine whether to sentence a killer to death.

Close to 800 death sentences in those states could be in question, depending on the breadth and retroactivity of a final ruling. The case is from Arizona, where 128 people are on death row, and the court's decision will

Appeal Imperils Florida Death Penalty

Appeal imperils Florida death penalty

Miami Herald
Feb. 7, 2002

An Arizona death penalty case could have profound ramifications for nine states -- including Florida, with its 372 Death Row inmates -- and might lead to major changes in how sentences in first-degree murder trials are meted out.

Already within the last two weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court has postponed two Florida executions, the latest one Tuesday.

At the root of the issue: Ring v. Arizona, a 1994 trial of an armored van robber who was convicted of murder by a jury and sentenced