Lockhart v. Alabama

Petition for certiorari denied on April 20, 2015
Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
14-8194 Ala. Crim. App. N/A N/A N/A N/A OT 2014

Issue: (1) Whether a judge’s death sentence, imposed by overriding a jury verdict for life imprisonment without parole, in part because the victim’s family asked for a death sentence, violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on arbitrary and capricious death sentences; (2) whether judicial override, which has become isolated to Alabama and is increasingly rare even within Alabama, especially when the jury’s sentencing verdict is unanimous, now violates the Eighth Amendment because death sentences imposed in such a way constitute cruel and unusual punishment; and (3) whether, under Alabama’s capital sentencing scheme, the death penalty is only authorized if a determination is made that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances in the case, and whether, where a jury decides that aggravation does not outweigh mitigation, a trial judge’s decision to override that finding violates the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury verdict.

DateProceedings and Orders (key to color coding)
Dec 5 2014Application (14A609) to extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari from December 25, 2014 to January 26, 2015, submitted to Justice Thomas.
Dec 9 2014Application (14A609) granted by Justice Thomas extending the time to file until January 26, 2015.
Jan 26 2015Petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed. (Response due March 2, 2015)
Mar 2 2015Brief amici curiae of National Association of Black Veterans, et al. filed.
Mar 2 2015Brief of respondent Alabama in opposition filed.
Mar 16 2015Reply of petitioner Courtney Larrell Lockhart filed.
Mar 19 2015DISTRIBUTED for Conference of April 3, 2015.
Apr 6 2015DISTRIBUTED for Conference of April 17, 2015.
Apr 20 2015Petition DENIED Justice Breyer and Justice Sotomayor dissent.
May 15 2015Petition for Rehearing filed.
May 26 2015DISTRIBUTED for Conference of June 11, 2015.
Jun 15 2015Rehearing DENIED.
Term Snapshot
At a Glance