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Kentucky Supreme Court rules death penalty violates inmate’s constitutional rights; more evidence that the system is broken

"Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson wrote that Phillip L. Brown, 29, was 'improperly subjected to the death penalty,'" according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

"Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson wrote that Phillip L. Brown, 29, was 'improperly subjected to the death penalty,'" according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

From the Louisville Courier-Journal’s “Court says inmate can’t face death penalty“:

A Kentucky inmate cannot face the death penalty when he is re-sentenced for beating and stabbing a woman to death during a robbery because a jury sentenced him to life in prison during his first trial, the state’s high court ruled Thursday.
Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson wrote that Phillip L. Brown, 29, was “improperly subjected to the death penalty” during a retrial in the 2001 slaying of Sherry Bland in Columbia in Adair County.

Jurors were instructed to determine if prosecutors proved that Brown deserved the death penalty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Brown was convicted of murder in Adair County in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. That conviction was overturned and the trial moved to nearby Warren County.

At the second trial in 2006, the jury handed down a death sentence. Handing down a death sentence in a retrial violated Brown’s constitutional rights because of the jury’s finding in the first trial, Abramson wrote.

Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Court of Justice

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