The Supreme Court ruling in White v. Woodall is available in Adobe .pdf format.
"Court won't overturn death sentence for Ky. man," is AP coverage.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to overturn the death sentence of a man who confessed to kidnapping, raping and killing a 16-year-old girl in Kentucky.
The justices ruled 6-3 that Robert Keith Woodall was not entitled to a new sentencing hearing despite his claim that jurors received faulty instructions.
Woodall argued that the trial judge should have told the jury not to draw any negative conclusions about his refusal to take the stand at his 1998 capital sentencing hearing.
"The Supreme Court reverses the Sixth Circuit in yet another habeas case," is by Case Western Law Professor Jonathan H. Adler.
Today’s reversal came in White v. Woodall. In this case, a death-row inmate challenged his capital sentence because the judge had failed to provide the jury with a no-adverse-inference instruction concerning the defendant’s refusal to testify during the penalty phase of his trial. This failure, a divided panel of the Sixth Circuit concluded, violated Woodall’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The Supreme Court, 6-3, held that the trial court’s failure to provide the desired jury instruction was not objectively unreasonable or contrary to clearly established law, and therefore Woodall did not satisfy the requirements for habeas relief under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA).
Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion, joined by the Chief Justice, and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Kagan. Justice Breyer dissented, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor.
University of Texas School of Law Professor Jordan Steiker is due to post commentary at SCOTUSblog. I'll update the link after it's available.
Earlier coverage of the Kentucky case begins at the link.