Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Death Row Inmate

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


The Supreme Court rules in favor of an Alabama death row inmate. The justices divided 5 to 4 in siding with inmate James McWilliams, and ordered a lower court to consider whether his death sentence can remain in place. Justices say McWilliams was deprived of an independent mental health expert to help him try to stave off a death sentence at his trial more than 30 years ago. McWilliams was convicted of raping and killing a convenience store clerk in Tuscaloosa. The judge refused a defense request to delay the hearing to consider new information and sentenced McWilliams to death. Most states, including Alabama, now routinely provide a mental health expert specifically for the defense team.


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