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  1. #1
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    Alabama Judges Retain the Right to Override Juries in Capital Sentencing

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/19/us...national&_r=1&

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a challenge to an unusual Alabama capital-sentencing practice that has sent 95 defendants to death row despite jury determinations calling for life sentences. ........

    The case, Woodward v. Alabama, No. 13-5380, concerned Mario D. Woodward, who was convicted of killing Keith Houts, a police officer. By an 8-to-4 vote, the jury recommended a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The trial judge rejected the recommendation and condemned Mr. Woodward to death.

    More at link......


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  2. #2
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    (Never mind. I see our feckless Supreme Court has already shirked its responsibility on this one.)

    Why even have sentencing juries if their verdicts are mere "suggestions"?

  3. #3
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    That doesn't sit well with me.
    I speak fluently in reaction gifs.


  4. #4
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    Judges can over rule jurys when the jury finds one guilty and the judge disagrees. The judge can't over rule a jury that aquits a defendant.
    What happens to cop killers and muderers in general, garners no sympathy from me.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrackerSam View Post
    Judges can over rule jurys when the jury finds one guilty and the judge disagrees. The judge can't over rule a jury that aquits a defendant.
    What happens to cop killers and murderers in general, garners no sympathy from me.
    The whole point of civilian juries is to serve as a check on the power of the government. Yes, under certain circumstances, a judge can overrule a jury verdict and LOWER the penalty or acquit the defendant entirely. (This rarely happens but it is a check on amateur juries who may misunderstand the facts or the law.)

    But in the case we are discussing here, Alabama has given judges the power to overrule a jury and RAISE the penalty (to the ultimate penalty, no less). In my view, this is a gross violation of our constitutional right to a trial by jury.

  6. #6
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    No it doesn't. You'll have a trial by jury, nobodody's denying you your constitutional right to a trial by jury, but I I don't think you have a right to be sentenced by the jury, which is what is in question here.
    Where in the Constitution does it give you the right to be sentenced by the jury?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrackerSam View Post
    No it doesn't. You'll have a trial by jury, nobodody's denying you your constitutional right to a trial by jury, but I I don't think you have a right to be sentenced by the jury, which is what is in question here.
    Where in the Constitution does it give you the right to be sentenced by the jury?
    Sam, requiring a jury of one's peers to mete out the death penalty was a primary factor in the Supreme Court of the time allowing the d.p. to resume after the hiatus of the 1970s.

    As in so many areas, the SCOTUS approval of Alabama's outrageous law is part of our slow crawl back to the 1950s. Wait--make that 1850, since what we are seeing is a revival of the Confederacy.

  8. #8
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    Florida and Delaware allow overrides as well. Let's not color the issue. What shouldn't happen is deciding someones innocence because of the sentence. Guilty is Guilty. jmo
    Just know one thing, I am the majority.

    Adios amego's

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elley Mae View Post
    Florida and Delaware allow overrides as well. Let's not color the issue. What shouldn't happen is deciding someones innocence because of the sentence. Guilty is Guilty. jmo
    Thanks. I didn't realize Delaware was part of the Confederacy.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrackerSam View Post
    Thanks. I didn't realize Delaware was part of the Confederacy.
    Don't tell joe.

    Just know one thing, I am the majority.

    Adios amego's


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    The whole point of civilian juries is to serve as a check on the power of the government. Yes, under certain circumstances, a judge can overrule a jury verdict and LOWER the penalty or acquit the defendant entirely. (This rarely happens but it is a check on amateur juries who may misunderstand the facts or the law.)

    But in the case we are discussing here, Alabama has given judges the power to overrule a jury and RAISE the penalty (to the ultimate penalty, no less). In my view, this is a gross violation of our constitutional right to a trial by jury.
    ~bbm

    But guilt or innocence is the province of the jury, while sentencing is almost alway the province of the judge. So while some may see an issue with the judicial override of a life sentence in states that permit it, I don't think the issue is whether it violates the defendant's right to a trial by jury. Their guilt or innocence was decided by the jury. If the judge wasn't allowed to impose the sentence because of the right to a jury trial, sentencing in 99% of criminal cases would be unconstitutional.

    As I see it, the issue is whether imposing a death sentence (rather than a life sentence) MUST be a concensus decision rather than in the hands of one person. There may be a valid distinction from non-DP sentencing in a capital case because of the finality of the DP, but I think that's a different constitutional question. Or maybe even just a "public policy" issue.

    jmo

  12. #12
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    [I]t approaches the most literal sense of the
    word “arbitrary” to put one to death in the
    face of a contrary jury determination where
    it is accepted that the jury had indeed responsibly
    carried out its task.
    - Johnson v. Alabama, 488 u.S. 876 (1988) (Marshall, J., dissenting).
    http://www.eji.org/files/Override_Report.pdf

    Document shows that judges in Ala. override more during election years.

    The jury's verdict should be final, for guilt/not guilty and the sentence of 'no death penalty'. IMO


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reader View Post
    http://www.eji.org/files/Override_Report.pdf

    Document shows that judges in Ala. override more during election years.

    The jury's verdict should be final, for guilt/not guilty and the sentence of 'no death penalty'. IMO
    OVER RULED. Sentencing by jury is not a right.

  14. #14
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    I'm sure many juries are glad when a judge overrides them. Some people think someone deserves the death penalty but when it comes to sentencing someone, thats another thing.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrackerSam View Post
    Thanks. I didn't realize Delaware was part of the Confederacy.
    I was speaking of a frame of reference, not literal geography. And I didn't know Delaware had a similar law.

    In fact, Delaware did not join the Confederacy, but it was a slave state. Wedged between the strongholds of NY, Philadelphia and Washington, Delaware may not have felt it really had the option to secede.

    In any event, I was speaking metaphorically.

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