By 5-4 votes, the Supreme Court today reversed death sentences for three Texas killers because of problems with instructions given jurors who were deciding between life in prison and death. the Associated Press reports. The cases invove jury instructions that Texas hasn’t used since 1991. Courts have found that jurors were not allowed to give sufficient weight to factors that might cause them to impose a life sentence instead of death.
Justice Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, and John Paul Stevens joined in the majority; Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.