Death Row

An appeals court in Texas vacated the sentence of the state’s longest-serving death row inmate, Raymond Riles. The jury that convicted Riles for shooting a man to death during a robbery did not receive a “mitigation-focused” instruction but should have because of the mental health evidence presented at trial, including witness testimony that he was often psychotic and had schizophrenia.

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Death Penalty

A federal judge declined to halt the Dec. 10 execution of Brandon Bernard, who was convicted of murder in 2000 alongside his co-conspirator in a carjacking that left two youth ministers dead. Bernard was present at the murder scene but did not plan the crime or shoot the victims. However, he has exhausted all avenues to appeal his sentence and the public has a vested interest in carrying out a valid sentence.

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