Alabama
1:19 pm
Fri June 25, 2004

Justices Won't Overturn Judges' Death Sentences

Washington, D.C. – Attorney General Troy King says a U-S Supreme Court death penalty ruling will not disturb any capital punishment cases in Alabama. Justices Thursday refused to apply a 2002 decision retroactively that said jurors, rather than judges, should determine the fate of inmates facing a possible death sentence. The decision raised questions about Alabama's law because the state uses a combination of juries and judges to impose death sentences. A jury decides whether Alabama's capital punishment law applies to a defendant and then recommends whether the person should be executed or spend life in prison without parole. A judge then decides the final sentence and is not bound by the jury's recommendation.