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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 10 Jan 2014

-Alabama Judges Can Override Juries to Impose Death Sentences

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Jury BoxDid you know that in Alabama, not only are independent-minded jurors screened out of capital cases through death qualification of juries, but that even when these rigged juries want to impose a penalty of life without parole, a single judge can override twelve verdicts from jurors? 95 times so far Alabama judges have served up harsher sentences of death overriding the life without parole sentences recommended by juries.

U.S. Supreme Court: Alabama judges can continue to override juries and impose death sentences

“Judges now override jury verdicts of life in just a single State, and they do so roughly twice a year,” writes Sotomayor.

Sotomayor argues that crimes are no more heinous and juries no more lenient in Alabama. But she cites a study by the Equal Justice Initiative finding a significant uptick in overrides during election years.

She writes: “The only answer that is supported by empirical evidence is one that, in my view, casts a cloud of illegitimacy over the criminal justice system: Alabama judges, who are elected in partisan proceedings, appear to have succumbed to electoral pressures.”

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