Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Inmates on Death Row Get Life

By an 8-3 vote, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said all condemned inmates sentenced by a judge should have their sentences commuted to life terms.

"By deciding that judges are not constitutionally permitted to decide whether defendants are eligible for the death penalty, the Supreme Court altered the fundamental bedrock principles applicable to capital murder trials," Judge Sidney R. Thomas wrote for the court.

Although I'm not an avid proponent of the death penalty, I'm a little troubled by the 9th Circuit's retroactive application of the cited Supreme Court decision (Ring v. Arizona). I'm not sure this was the Supreme Court's intent, but I guess we'll find out on appeal.

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