CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

SCOTUS: Innocence-related Evidence May be Limited at Mitigation Phase

In Oregon v. Guzek,  No. 04-928, the Supreme Court (minus Alito) ruled unanimously that a defendant doesn't have a constitutional right to present evidence of innocence (in this case alibis) at the mitigation phase of a capital trial. Breyer, writing for all justices except Scalia and Thomas, said there's no reason to actually address the question of residual doubt.  But he observed that six members of the Court have previously said there is no right to present such evidence.  Scalia, writing for himself and Thomas, concurred, but noted that residual doubt evidence is not mandated under the 8th Amendment and that any inference to the contrary buried in the majority opinion is worthless and internally inconsistent with other parts of the opinion. [Mark Godsey]

Capital Punishment, Supreme Court | Permalink

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