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

Posted Jun 28, 2011 10:20 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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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, MSNBC.com 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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