The death penalty continues to spark controversy across the country. As I was researching recent developments in a number of states, I learned that a case will be argued in the coming months before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging Louisiana’s death penalty. It’s the case of Tucker v. Louisiana. Those of us who follow capital cases are familiar with the penalty phase at trial which typically asks a jury to weigh the mitigating and aggravating evidence in determining whether death is the appropriate sentence. In Louisiana, there is no weighing of aggravating and mitigating evidence by a jury. Nor is there a requirement that jurors determine beyond a reasonable doubt that death is the appropriate punishment. Jurors are presented with aggravating and mitigating evidence but apparently there is no guidance in what to do with it. Briefs in the case…

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