What happened in the Brown v. Sanders case?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In Brown v. Sanders (2006) the Supreme Court heard an appeal from a man, Ronald L. Sanders, who had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death. In the the initial trial, the jury had been instructed to consider four aggregating circumstances when sentencing the convicted man. On appeal, two of those circumstances had been found to be invalid, but the appeals court still upheld his sentence. Sanders argued that his sentencing violated the Eighth Amendment because two of the aggravating circumstances had been found to be flawed. The Supreme Court disagreed in a 5-4 decision, with Antonin Scalia writing for the majority that even though the two circumstances were found invalid, the sum effect of the "circumstances of the crime" would have been enough for the jury to reach the same sentence. Sanders's death sentence was upheld.


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