Friday, November 15, 2013

Kansas v. Marsh case brief

Kansas v. Marsh case brief summary
548 U.S. 163 (2006)

A jury convicted defendant of capital murder and found beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of three aggravating circumstances, and that those circumstances were not outweighed by any mitigating circumstances. The Kansas Supreme Court held that the Kansas death penalty statute, Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-4624(e) (1995), was facially unconstitutional. The petition for writ of certiorari of petitioner State of Kansas was granted.

Defendant broke into the home of the victim and lay in wait for her to return. When the victim entered her home with her 19-month-old daughter, defendant killed the victim. The home was set on fire with the toddler inside, and the toddler burned to death. The jury convicted defendant of the capital murder of the toddler.


  • The Court held that it had jurisdiction as the Kansas Supreme Court's determination that Kansas' death penalty statute was facially unconstitutional was final and binding on the lower state courts leaving the State without means to obtain further review and that decision clearly rested on the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, not on adequate and independent state grounds. 
  • Although prior caselaw did not discuss the equipoise issue explicitly, that issue was resolved by its holding. 
  • The Court held that Kansas' death penalty statute, Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-4624(e) (1995), was consistent with the Constitution as it directed imposition of the death penalty when the State had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that mitigators did not outweigh aggravators, including where the aggravating circumstances and mitigating circumstances were in equipoise.

The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Law

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Evolution of Legal Marketing: From Billboards to Digital Leads Over the last couple of decades, the face of legal marketing has changed a l...