On Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied a request from a Louisiana death row inmate seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the death penalty.
Lamondre Tucker, who was convicted of murdering his pregnant girlfriend in 2008 in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, hoped to have his death sentence overturned by the court.
Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg both dissented from the majority opinion of the court and expressed an interest in hearing Tucker’s request.
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According to Breyer, it is possible Tucker may have received the death penalty merely because he was a resident of Caddo Parish. The parish accounts for nearly half of all death sentences in Louisiana, despite comprising only 5 percent of the state’s population and 5 percent of the murders.
“Given these facts, Tucker may well have received the death penalty not because of the comparative egregiousness of his crime, but because of an arbitrary feature of his case, namely, geography,” said Breyer in his dissent.
“One could reasonably believe that if Tucker had committed the same crime just across the Red River in, say, Bossier Parish, he would not now be on death row,” the justice said.
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This is not the first time Breyer been a vocal critic in a case pertaining to the constitutionality of the death sentence. During the last term, the Supreme Court ruled in Glossip v. Gross that states could use the drug midazolam in lethal injections.
In his dissent, Breyer said, “Today’s administration of the death penalty involves three fundamental constitutional defects: serious unreliability, arbitrariness in application, and unconscionably long delays that undermine the death penalty’s penological purpose. Perhaps as a result, most places within the United States have abandoned its use.”
h/t: The Hill
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