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Supreme Court to reconsider death penalty for Texas murderer

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] announced Friday that it will reconsider [docket entry] the death penalty [JURIST news archive] sentence [case information] of LaRoyce Lathair Smith, convicted of murdering a 19-year-old Dallas Taco Bell manager in 1991. The Court initially reversed Smith's death sentence [JURIST report] in a 2004 per curiam opinion [text, PDF] because jurors were not instructed to consider mitigating evidence of Smith's personal circumstances during sentencing. On remand, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals [official website] decided [opinion text] in March to reinstitute Smith's death sentence.

The Constitution Project [advocacy website] has filed an amicus brief [text, PDF] in support of Smith's position, in addition to an amicus brief [text, PDF] filed on behalf of four former federal appeals court judges. AP has more.

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