Supreme Court declines to hear 3 AL death row inmates' petition

Supreme Court declines to hear 3 AL death row inmates' petition

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSFA) - The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear petitions from three inmates sitting on Alabama's death row. Thomas Arthur, Jerry Bohannon, and Aubrey Shaw were challenging the constitutionality of Alabama's capital punishment sentencing law.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange hailed the Supreme Court's decision as "another victory for the rule of law."

"The U.S. Supreme Court's denial of certiorari petitions...challenging Alabama's death penalty system in light of the 2016 Hurst v. Florida case, is a reaffirmation that Alabama's death sentencing law is constitutional," Strange said.

"Convicted murders have repeatedly challenged Alabama's death penalty sentencing system because it allows for judicial override similar to Florida's law. However, Alabama law also holds that a jury must unanimously find an aggravating factor at either the guilt or sentencing phase—such as when the murder was committed during a robbery, a rape, or a kidnapping – before determining a death sentence."

Florida's law was deemed unconstitutional in 2016.

Strange called the difference, "a significant distinction between Alabama law and Florida's law."

"Alabama's death penalty law was specifically upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Harris v. Alabama in 1995," Strange said, "and, as we witnessed again today, the High Court has consistently declined to take challenges to Alabama's law based on the same grounds in which Florida's law was contested."

Bohannon and Shaw have been on death row since 2014 and 2011, respectively, for murder convictions in Mobile County. Arthur has been Alabama's death row for nearly 30 years following a conviction for aggravated murder in Jefferson County.

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