Abdul-Kabir v. Quarterman

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In Abdul-Kabir v. Quarterman, 127 S. Ct. 1654 (2007), the 5-4 United States Supreme Court overturned a death penalty because it found a reasonable likelihood that the trial judge's instructions to the Texas jury that sentenced defendant to death prevented jurors from giving meaningful consideration to constitutionally relevant mitigating evidence.

Of less general interest, the Court also held that the judgment of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) denying his application for postconviction relief on November 24, 1999, misapplied the law as clearly established by earlier decisions of this Court, thereby warranting relief under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion for the Court, and was joined by its liberal wing along with Justice Anthony Kennedy. Chief Justice John Roberts filed a dissent, which Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito joined. Justice Scalia also filed a separate dissent, which Justice Thomas joined and Justice Alito joined in part.

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