Justices: Kentucky death sentence wrongly overturned

December 14, 2015

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in favor of Kentucky officials seeking to reinstate the death sentence of a man convicted in the 1997 murders of a Louisville couple.

Justices ruled Monday that a federal appeals court was wrong to overturn Roger Wheeler's sentence based on the exclusion of a juror who expressed reservations about the death penalty.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the sentence after ruling the juror should not have been dismissed. The 2-1 ruling said the juror eventually said he could consider the full range of punishment.

Kentucky officials argue the juror never "unequivocally" said he could consider the death penalty. The high court said in an unsigned opinion that the appeals court did not give enough deference to the state court ruling.


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