The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruling in USA v. Johnson is available in Adobe .pdf format.
"Appeals court broadens scope of death penalty retrial for Iowa woman who killed 5 in 1993," is the AP report filed by Ryan J. Floey, via the Daily Journal. Here's an extended excerpt from the beginning:
The death penalty retrial for an Iowa woman convicted of helping kill five people in 1993 will be broader than the trial judge wanted, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
Jurors will first decide whether Johnson is eligible for the death penalty, and, if so, whether that punishment should be imposed in each death, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The retrial is scheduled for March.
The 2-1 ruling is a victory for federal prosecutors because it allows them to present evidence that would have been excluded in the narrower retrial previously ordered by U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett.
Johnson was sentenced to death in 2005 for her role in the execution-style slayings of three adults and two children in northern Iowa in 1993, becoming the first woman to land on federal death row in decades. Prosecutors say she helped her boyfriend, methamphetamine kingpin Dustin Honken, carry out the killings to thwart a federal investigation into their drug enterprise. Honken was convicted separately and is on death row.
Johnson remains convicted and imprisoned. But Bennett ordered her a new sentencing hearing in 2012, saying that her defense was inadequate during that phase of the trial. In particular, the judge said her attorneys failed to present evidence about Johnson's mental state that may have convinced jurors to spare her life.
Earlier coverage of Angela Johnson's case begins at the link.