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UNITED STATES. SUPREME COURT REJECTS NEW ALIBI EVIDENCE AT SENTENCING

February 22, 2006: convicted murderers facing the death penalty do not have a constitutional right at sentencing to offer new evidence seeking to cast doubt on their guilt, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously.
The justices said the Oregon Supreme Court had been wrong to rule that a defendant has a constitutional right try to avert a death sentence by presenting new alibi evidence during a sentencing hearing. Justice Stephen Breyer said in the opinion that the Constitution does not give a capital-case defendant any such right, and a state can limit innocence-related evidence at sentencing to only that introduced at the original trial.
The case involved Randy Lee Guzek, who was convicted on two counts of murder in the 1987 robbery and killing of a couple at their home in rural Oregon. He was sentenced to death. The Supreme Court's decision means Guzek's case will go back to the Oregon courts for further proceedings, and he can still face the death sentence. The Oregon Supreme Court had overturned the death sentence and sent the case back for a new sentencing. It said alibi evidence from Guzek's mother, that he was not at the crime scene, was admissible at the penalty phase of the trial.
The state court ruled that the constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment required that a defendant be allowed to present at sentencing any evidence that mitigated against imposition of the death penalty.
Breyer said the evidence that Guzek wants to present was inconsistent with his prior conviction and was available at the time of his original trial. The evidence sheds no light on the manner in which Guzek committed the crime and sentencing traditionally concerns how, not whether, a defendant has committed the crime, Breyer said. He said the parties previously litigated the issue of whether Guzek committed the crime, and the law generally bars that issue from being litigated again at sentencing.
While Guzek cannot call his mother to testify at sentencing about the alibi, Breyer said Oregon law gives Guzek the right to present to the sentencing jury all the evidence of innocence from the original trial, including transcripts of the mother's testimony that she was with him the night of the crime. (Sources: Reuters News, 22/02/2006)

BANGLADESH. 22 MILITANTS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR BOMBINGS
PENNSYLVANIA. JUDGE BARS EXECUTION, CITES MENTAL ILLNESS
UNITED STATES. DEATH SENTENCES IN 2005 REACHED RECORD LOW
CHINA. PROVINCE TAPS THIEVES WITH EXECUTION
YEMEN. MAN EXECUTED FOR US MISSIONARY KILLINGS
CHINA. 8,000 EXECUTIONS EVERY YEAR, SCHOLAR AT THE ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
VIETNAM. LAOS MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
AFGHANISTAN. COURT SENTENCES FORMER SPY CHIEF TO DEATH
CHINA. DEATH PENALTY CASES TO BE HEARD IN OPEN COURT
IRAN. MAN HANGED FOR RAPE
CHINA. TWO TAIWANESE EXECUTED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
UNITED STATES. CALIFORNIA HOLDS OFF MORALES EXECUTION
THE PHILIPPINES. ARROYO: I'LL WORK TO SCRAP DEATH PENALTY
ARIZONA, US. LAWMAKERS APOLOGIZE TO THE 100TH PERSON FREED FROM DEATH ROW
PAKISTAN. 11 MEN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT
HANDS OFF CAIN. STOP WITH THE HYPOCRISY OF THE HUMANENESS OF LETHAL INJECTION
SOUTH KOREA. JUSTICE MINISTRY TO RECONSIDER DEATH PENALTY
TURKEY. PROTOCOL NO. 13 RATIFIED
JAPAN. CULT LEADER FIT TO APPEAL AGAINST DEATH SENTENCE
IRAN. 22-YEAR-OLD MAN HANGED IN PRISON
IRAN. EXECUTION OF MINORS TO CONTINUE
VIETNAM. PRESIDENT COMMUTES DEATH SENTENCES OF TWO AUSTRALIANS
IRAN. TWO MEN EXECUTED IN SOUTHERN CITY
ITALY. HOC PRESENTS REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN IRAN AND APPEAL TO SAVE NAZANIN
RUSSIA. BESLAN SUSPECT'S LAWYER APPEALS FOR 'FAIR' SENTENCE AMID CALLS FOR EXECUTION
CALIFORNIA, USA. CALIFORNIA TURNS TO MEDICS FOR NEXT EXECUTION
JORDAN. NINE SENTENCED TO DEATH IN TERROR PLOT
IRAN. 15-YEAR-OLD SCHOOLBOY SENTENCED TO DEATH
THE PHILIPPINES. PRESIDENT COMMUTES 280 DEATH SENTENCES
TEXAS, USA. TEXAS CARRIES OUT ITS FOURTH EXECUTION OF THE YEAR

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