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Thursday, February 1, 2007
Legislation proposed by Gov. Blunt to make the death penalty mandatory for convicted cop killers is unconstitutional under longstanding U.S. Supreme Court precedent. The court ruled in 1976 that laws requiring the death penalty and taking away any discretion by courts or juries to impose lesser sentences violates defendants’ 8th Amendment protections. The high court reaffirmed that ruling in 1986. In a Jan. 26 story by The Associated Press, several legal experts and constitutional scholars said the governor plan, if enacted into law, is virtually guaranteed of being overturned.