Petition of the day
The petition of the day is:
Issue: (1) Whether the Mississippi Supreme Court erred in holding that the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment permits a forensic analyst to inform the jury of the results of forensic testing of DNA evidence that she did not participate in or observe, so long as she is “familiar with each step of the complex testing process conducted by” the non-testifying expert and “conducted her own [comparison] analysis” of the DNA profiles generated by the non-testifying expert; (2) whether the court below erred in holding that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments permit the exclusion from a capital trial of a defendant’s proffered evidence of the harsh and suffering prison conditions he would face if the jury elected a sentence of life imprisonment instead of execution, where such evidence rebuts the argument that the death penalty is needed to hold the defendant accountable, rebuts the state’s suggestion of future dangerousness, and is constitutionally relevant mitigation evidence; and (3) whether a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s requirement that jurors be permitted to form a reasoned moral response to the defendant’s background, character, and crime may be excused as harmless error, as the court below and some United States courts of appeals have found, or whether such constitutional error must require automatic reversal of the death sentence, as other United States courts of appeals have held.
Recommended Citation: Maureen Johnston, Petition of the day, SCOTUSblog (May. 15, 2014, 10:11 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/05/petition-of-the-day-610/