Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Circuit Won’t Reconsider Death Penalty Reversal

(CN) - The 2nd Circuit on Tuesday refused to reconsider its decision overturning the death sentence of a State Island man convicted of killing two undercover police detectives posing as gun buyers in 2003.

A federal jury had sentenced Ronell Wilson, also known as "Rated R," to death for shooting detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews in the back of the head in a car.

The federal appeals court voted 2-1 in July to leave Wilson's conviction intact, but to overturn his death sentence. The majority determined that two of the government's arguments during the penalty phase violated Wilson's constitutional rights.

Prosecutors had linked Wilson's decisions to not plead guilty or take the stand to a purported lack of remorse and refusal to accept responsibility for the killings.

"Wilson's constitutionally protected decision to go to trial was cited as a reason to sentence him to death, and thus to 'enhance' what would otherwise be a life sentence," Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs wrote for the majority.

In a two-sentence order Tuesday, the 2nd Circuit said the judges voted not to rehear the case before a full judicial panel.


Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.