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  1. #1
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    Aug 2008
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    Interesting Read, Darden v Wainright, SCOTUS 1986

    Saw this posted on a gaming board I frequent of all things. It's a really interesting Supreme Court opinion regarding some issues in both Jury selection and Voir Dire, claims of prosecutorial misconduct, and the judicial tests for ineffective assistance of council. Stemming from a Florida death penalty conviction.

    http://supreme.justia.com/us/477/168/case.html

    some really good and applicable stuff in there. (I'll admit I am not sure if this is the current precedent in these issues or if it has been superseded, but interesting none the less.)

    Among the things the case does show is where we may see some potential challenges regarding the jury and jury selection, how far up the chain it can go if the prosecutors let their emotions tale control of their presentation, and it is also reassuring that the chances are less than minuscule that any court will entertain an IAC claim from KC.

    BE WARNED! The crime detailed in this case is truly horrific. If you have a weak constitution stop reading at the line "Because of the Nature..."

  2. #2
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    Thank you for posting this case Faefrost. I don't have the same concerns as many posters about jury members going sideways as I believe HHJP is very aware of probing potential jurors as to whether or not they have beliefs that would prevent them from voting death, or if they do have those beliefs are they able to set them aside.

    Re: the impassioned closing argument - it would have helped if I had looked up the Eighth Amendment (Canuck here) before reading the article, but I was unimpressed with the defendant's complaints.

    I do understand that in the penalty phase, there is quite a list of topics the SA cannot go near, such as..
    -the State may not use the lack of remorse as an argument
    -the State may not argue mitigation as aggravating factors
    -may not argue facts which were not contained in the evidence except common knowledge facts
    -not use the golden rule - that is to say "what punishment would the victim want the defendant to serve?"
    -The "show no mercy" argument or show the defendant the same mercy as he showed his victim
    -may not use the religious argument "thou shalt not kill" No quotes from the Bible or God allowed
    -cannot appeal to the sympathy, emotions or fear of the jurors saying things such as "how would you feel if this happens to you", or "imagine how the victim felt".
    -may not call the defendant a liar
    -may not ask the death penalty be used to "serve as an example to the community"
    -may not suggest the death penalty is a deterrent

    There are a number of others but those were the ones that jumped out at me.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for posting this.
    Just my opinion.....
    Finally found a reason for the Ignore feature!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the article - fascinating read and quite on point to many of the issues we've discussed ad nauseum here


    Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
    Mark Twain

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by logicalgirl View Post
    Thank you for posting this case Faefrost. I don't have the same concerns as many posters about jury members going sideways as I believe HHJP is very aware of probing potential jurors as to whether or not they have beliefs that would prevent them from voting death, or if they do have those beliefs are they able to set them aside.

    Re: the impassioned closing argument - it would have helped if I had looked up the Eighth Amendment (Canuck here) before reading the article, but I was unimpressed with the defendant's complaints.

    I do understand that in the penalty phase, there is quite a list of topics the SA cannot go near, such as..
    -the State may not use the lack of remorse as an argument
    -the State may not argue mitigation as aggravating factors
    -may not argue facts which were not contained in the evidence except common knowledge facts
    -not use the golden rule - that is to say "what punishment would the victim want the defendant to serve?"
    -The "show no mercy" argument or show the defendant the same mercy as he showed his victim
    -may not use the religious argument "thou shalt not kill" No quotes from the Bible or God allowed
    -cannot appeal to the sympathy, emotions or fear of the jurors saying things such as "how would you feel if this happens to you", or "imagine how the victim felt".
    -may not call the defendant a liar
    -may not ask the death penalty be used to "serve as an example to the community"
    -may not suggest the death penalty is a deterrent

    There are a number of others but those were the ones that jumped out at me.
    This list of limitations is interesting. Thanks. I only hope that by the penalty phase the jury will be well aware of the defendant being a liar that shows no remorse. I hope that can bring up Caylee losing her life, having it cut short, for no reason that excuses her killer. It's so important, IMO, that the jury understand "not an accident but killed".

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curious Me View Post
    This list of limitations is interesting. Thanks. I only hope that by the penalty phase the jury will be well aware of the defendant being a liar that shows no remorse. I hope that can bring up Caylee losing her life, having it cut short, for no reason that excuses her killer. It's so important, IMO, that the jury understand "not an accident but killed".
    Agree but I think when we finally get to the penalty stage, the decision will be LWOP or the Death Penalty.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by logicalgirl View Post
    Agree but I think when we finally get to the penalty stage, the decision will be LWOP or the Death Penalty.
    And the "decision" of the jury doesn't really matter. JP can "override" their vote in the penalty phase and give life or death for his own reasons. FL is one of the very few states that allows this.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sua_sponte View Post
    And the "decision" of the jury doesn't really matter. JP can "override" their vote in the penalty phase and give life or death for his own reasons. FL is one of the very few states that allows this.
    For the most part that rule of procedure is used by judges to reduce the sentence from DP to LWOP. I've never heard of a case where the Judge upgraded a sentence from LWOP to DP. Would be interesting to see if that has ever actually happened. The DT imho made a huge mistake in removing HHSS. HHJP has no qualms about handing down a DP sentence.

  9. #9
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    Dec 2009
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    The US SC ruled only a jury is allowed to request the DP.



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