Associated Press has a preview of tomorrow's three Texas cases being heard at the U.S. Supreme Court. LINK
High-level judicial arguments with life-and-death consequences for three condemned Texas men will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this week.
Justices agreed to look again at LaRoyce Lathair Smith's argument Wednesday after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ignored the Supreme Court's concern over jury instructions.
Mr. Smith's attorneys argue his sentencing jury wasn't allowed to sufficiently consider abuse and neglect that he suffered as a child.
The other two cases – to be heard as a single argument on Wednesday – also involve a jury instruction that has not been used in Texas for 15 years. Brent Ray Brewer and Jalil Abdul-Kabir had their appeals turned down by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The decision could affect as many as 47 of the state's 390 death row inmates.
The questions are important enough for 21 states to file briefs, hoping that a Texas victory would limit federal meddling in state court systems.
Texas has executed 380 prisoners over the past 24 years, making it by far the nation's most active death penalty state.