Casey White’s attorneys file to bar death penalty, declare felony-murder charge unconstitutional
LAUDERDALE CO., Ala. (WAFF) - On Thursday the attorneys of Casey White filed a motion to bar the death penalty.
White is charged with capital murder for the death of Connie Ridgeway in 2015. His trial is set for December.
In the filing, White’s attorneys say that sentencing him to death is unconstitutional and violates his Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth amendments.
The grounds of the motion are “that the current Alabama statute which permits the judge, and not the jury, to make the factual findings necessary to expose the defendant to death violates the Sixth Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”
A part of the argument reads as follows:
“Similarly, under Alabama law, defendants are not exposed to a sentence of death unless there is a finding both that the aggravating circumstances exist beyond a reasonable doubt and that those aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances. Alabama law specifically provides that defendants are not eligible for the death penalty unless a finding is made that aggravating circumstances outweigh mitigating circumstances.”
White’s attorneys have asked the judge to strike down Alabama’s law as unconstitutional, bar the death penalty or wait for the trial to continue until the Alabama legislature changes the law.
The hearing for the motion is set for October 11 at 9:00 a.m.
In a motion filed on Friday, White’s attorneys request the court ‘to hold Alabama’s Felony-Murder Doctrine unconstitutional both on its face and in its application to the case at hand.”
The defense argues that the United States (and Alabama) is the only Western government that still recognizes a doctrine that makes it possible for a suspect to face a charge for an accidental death in which they did not directly participate or cause.
Section 13 of the motion, reads that if a jury finds White guilty of felony escape, they are required to find him guilty of murder since the death of Vicky White happened during the escape.
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