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Effort to Amend Stand Your Ground Law Fails:  The effort to amend or repeal Florida's Stand Your Ground law received a setback last week.  An editorial in the Miami Herald reports that protests following the acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman last year convinced Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford to hold a hearing on the law this fall.  Activists, and the Herald's editorial board apparently believe that the law prevented Zimmerman's conviction for the death of Trayvon Martin.  On November 7, a five-hour hearing was held in Tallahassee, where the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 11-2 to keep the law exactly the same.  

Court Overturns Murderer's Death Sentence:  A Tennessee man sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a nurse was granted a new sentencing hearing yesterday after a federal appeals court ruled that statements associating the defendant with the devil may have influenced the jury.  Brett Barrouquere of the Associated Press reports that Ronnie Cauthern and another man entered the home of Patrick and Rosemary Smith in 1987, put Rosemary in a closet, killed her husband, raped her twice, and then strangled her death.  At the 1995 re-sentencing hearing, the then-Assistant Attorney General made  comments associating Cauthern with the devil, but lower courts held that this would not have influenced the jury.  A three-judge panel of the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal disagreed, vacating the sentence. This will be the third re-sentencing hearing for Cauthern, unless the decision is overturned by the full Sixth Circuit or by the Supreme Court.

Felon Shot by Police at Children's Hospital:  Yesterday, police officers responded to a tip that a wanted felon was at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, igniting a standoff and a two-hour lockdown of the facility.  Gina Barton, Crocker Stephenson, and Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel report that 22-year-old Ashanti Hendricks, a wanted felon, was visiting his baby at the hospital when he was approached by officers.  Hendricks put down the baby and ran.  He was caught with a .40 caliber Glock handgun as was shot in the wrist during a struggle. Hendricks has several felony convictions dating back to 2009, most of which are drug-related. 

Aurora Theater Killer Claimed 'Too Mentally Ill' for Execution: Attorneys for accused Aurora, CO movie theater gunman James Holmes claim that results from a recent psychiatric evaluation indicate that he is too mentally ill to be executed.  John Ingold of the Denver Post reports that the motion filed to exclude the death penalty from Holmes' upcoming case was one of five motions brought forth by the defense as both sides make final preparations for the 2014 trial.  Holmes' attorneys have also requested that the jury only be allowed to hear victim impact statements after they have sentenced Holmes in order to prevent emotional bias.  Holmes is charged with the murders of 12 people during a July 2012 shooting spree at a Century Theater.

2 Comments

| “judges ruled he shouldn't have been compared to "the devil incarnate" and
serial killer Jeffrey Dahamer at trial.”
"Lower courts have found that it is a stretch to think anyone would conclude that Cauthern really was the devil and jurors didn't base their decision on those remarks.

"While that may be true, it's real relevance is that it highlights the outlandish nature of the prosecutor's remarks," Judge Eric Clay wrote for the court's majority. "And, one would not need to believe that (Cauthern) was himself the devil in order to have been improperly inflamed such that the verdict cannot be trusted."|

I don’t understand how hyperbole, comparison, and moral judgment by a prosecutor can “improperly inflam[e] such that [a] verdict cannot be trusted.”

If so outlandish, why did the jury agree with the prosecutor?
Either they’re competent to weigh his argument or not.
Unless the proceeding was unruly, how is overemphasis a dismissible offense?

Someone please convince me otherwise.
Why is the use of particularly strong words substantive, meaningful, and peculiarly prejudicial?


~Adamakis

It is a violation of the defendant's constitutional right to ineffective opposition of prosecutor.

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