The Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider another death penalty decision from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, says the Los Angeles Times. This one overturned the death sentence for a man who abducted a young Seattle woman then raped and tortured her for two days before killing her. It is the fourth case before the justices this term in which the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit had reversed a murder conviction or a death sentence. In all four, state prosecutors argued that the 9th Circuit overstepped its authority and wrongly second-guessed a state court’s decision.
The new case, from Seattle, involves a potential juror who was excluded because of his views on the death penalty. The facts of the case were described as “sickening” by dissenting judges on the 9th Circuit. When questioned, a potential juror, referred to as “Juror Z,” said he favored the death penalty only “in severe situations” and when it was “very obvious the person would re-offend.” Under Washington law, a defendant convicted of aggravated first-degree murder would be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. That meant that Brown would have no chance to “re-offend” outside prison. The 9th Circuit, however, said the juror was erroneously excluded and the defendant therefore did not have a fair trial.