FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2017
For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Alabama Attorney General
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
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ATTORNEY GENERAL STRANGE: VICTORY FOR RULE OF LAW AS
U.S. SUPREME COURT DECLINES TO HEAR CHALLENGES TO ALABAMA’S DEATH
PENALTY SENTENCING SYSTEM
(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Luther Strange said today’s decision by the U.S.
Supreme Court not to hear petitions by three Alabama death row inmates challenging the
constitutionality of the State’s capital sentencing law is another victory for the rule of law.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari petitions from Thomas Arthur, Jerry Bohannon,
and Aubrey Shaw, challenging Alabama’s death penalty system in light of the 2016 Hurst v.
Florida case, is a reaffirmation that Alabama’s death sentencing law is constitutional,” said
Attorney General Luther Strange.
“Convicted murders have repeatedly challenged Alabama’s death penalty sentencing system
because it allows for judicial override similar to Florida’s law. However, Alabama law also
holds that a jury must unanimously find an aggravating factor at either the guilt or sentencing
phase – such as when the murder was committed during a robbery, a rape, or a kidnapping –
before determining a death sentence. This is a significant distinction between Alabama law and
Florida’s law which was ruled unconstitutional last year by the Supreme Court.
“Alabama’s death penalty law was specifically upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Harris v.
Alabama in 1995, and, as we witnessed again today, the High Court has consistently declined to
take challenges to Alabama’s law based on the same grounds in which Florida’s law was
“It should, therefore, be clear to all that Alabama’s death penalty sentencing system is
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