Supreme Court Considers how far Prosecutors Can go in Urging Death Sentence

1 decade 1 year 3 months ago Wednesday, March 21 2007 Mar 21, 2007 Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:51:10 PM CDT March 21, 2007 in News
Source: (Copyright 2007 The Associated Press All Rights Reserved.)
 WASHINGTON D.C.-- U.S. Supreme Court justices heard arguments Wednesday in a 1987 Missouri murder case involving the death of a witneses in a federal drug case. During William Weaver's trial, a prosecutor told jurors to send a message to drug dealers by returning a death sentence. The Supreme Court today considered whether those and other remarks unfairly inflamed the jury and violated Weaver's constitutional rights. A federal appeals court ruling found the prosecutor's remarks improper and upheld a judge's decision to throw out the death sentence. Missouri Assistant Attorney General Andrea Spillars argued today that the prosecutor's comments may have been improper, but didn't cause fundamental unfairness. Weaver's attorney, John Blume, said the prosecutor made inflammatory appeals so that jurors would reach a decision based on passion and not on the facts.  Weaver and a co-defendant were convicted for the murder of Charles Taylor outside his apartment in a St. Louis suburb in July, 1987. Taylor was expected to testify against Shurn's two brothers at a federal drug trial. Evidence showed that Weaver shot Taylor execution-style in the head.

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