Death Penalty

Lawyers for Casey Anthony Question Her Competency, Cite Death Penalty Ruling

Lawyers for Casey Anthony are citing a Miami federal judge’s ruling striking down Florida’s death penalty procedure.

The defense says the judge presiding in Anthony’s case should declare a mistrial and “begin jury selection anew with a non death-qualified jury,” the Huffington Post reports. It is one of two defense motions recently filed in the case.

U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez ruled last week that the death-penalty procedure violates Supreme Court precedent in Ring v. Arizona that requires jurors to make findings on factors that can increase sentences. In Florida, jurors make a capital sentencing recommendation without clear factual findings on aggravating factors.

Meanwhile, Judge Belvin Perry ruled Monday in response to another defense motion that Anthony is competent to stand trial, reports. A defense motion (PDF posted by the Orlando Sentinel) filed on Saturday said Anthony’s lawyers believe she is not competent to assist in her defense based on a “privileged communication” with her. Perry ruled after reviewing examinations conducted by three psychologists over the weekend.

Anthony is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter.

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