In a victory for supporters of the state’s capital punishment regime, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up the case of a convicted murderer who sought to challenge Alabama’s death penalty law.
The high court refused to issue a petition for certiorari in the case of , essentially denying the case has the proper legal standing to be heard. The move is an especially significant win for advocates of Alabama’s death penalty because it has recently received jurisprudential scrutiny related to a case in Florida, which
State Attorney General Luther Strange welcomed the move by justices in a statement Monday afternoon.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to deny this petition establishes, yet again, that Alabama capital sentencing system is constitutional,” said Strange, a Republican who supports capital punishment. “As I have previously explained, the Court’s decision about Florida law in Hurst has no bearing on the constitutionality of Alabama’s materially different capital sentencing system.”
“It is time for criminal defense lawyers to stop making specious arguments and for public officials to recognize that Alabama’s capital sentencing is constitutional under current U.S. Supreme Court precedent,” added Strange.
Shanklin was convicted of capital murder and the lesser charge of attempted murder, which a jury ruled he committed during a violent armed robbery in 2009 in Cordova. A jury in Walker County Circuit Court recommended that Shanklin be sentenced to life without parole.
But the judge – using the provision at issue in the Florida and Alabama cases – circumvented the jury’s decision and sentenced Shanklin to death because of his long criminal history and the aggravated nature of his crime.