The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in the case of a convicted murderer from Missouri whose attorneys claimed was unfairly sentenced to death. Carman Deck was convicted of killing James and Zelma Long near De Soto on 1996. During the sentencing phase of his trial, Deck was brought into the courtroom in shackles – which his lawyers claimed prejudiced the jury. The highest court in the land agrees. In a split decision, it has ruled it was unconstitutional to force Deck to appear before the jury in chains and leg irons. The majority ruled the Constitution forbids the use of visible shackles during a capital trial’s penalty phase unless that use is “justified by an essential state interest,” meaning the individual might be a threat to the safety of those in the courtroom. The lower court will now have to decide whether to seek the death penalty in a new penalty phase.
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