Supreme Court Agrees To Review Constitutionality of Kansas Death Penalty Law
On May 31, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider the constitutionality of Kansas' death penalty law. The current statute requires that a death sentence be imposed when a jury finds that the aggravating and mitigating circumstances surrounding the crime have equal weight (i.e., a tie results in death). When reviewing Michael Marsh's death sentence in 2004, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state's statute was unconstitutional, holding that the above process did not comport with the fundamental respect for humanity underlying the Eighth Amendment. Upon petition of the State of Kansas, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the Kansas decision. Additionally, the Supreme Court will consider two questions related to the Court's jurisdiction over the case. The case is Kansas v. Marsh, No. 04-1170.
See DPIC's Supreme Court page for a longer discussion of the issues.