SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
OCTOBER TERM, 1993
certiorari to the court of criminal appeals of oklahoma
No. 92-9093. Argued March 22, 1994—Decided June 13, 1994
During the sentencing phase of petitioner's first-degree murder trial in
Oklahoma, the State introduced a copy of the judgment and death sentence he had received during an earlier trial for another murder. The jury ultimately found that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances, and imposed a second death sentence on petitioner. In affirming, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals acknowledged that the evidence of petitioner's prior death sentence was irrelevant to determining the appropriateness of the second death sentence, but held that admission of the evidence did not violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments under Caldwell v. Mississippi, 472 U. S. 320, or so infect the sentencing determination with unfairness as to amount to a denial of due process.
Held: The admission of evidence regarding petitioner's prior death sentence did not amount to constitutional error. Pp. 6-14. (a) Admission of the evidence at issue did not contravene the principle established in Caldwell, supra, at 342 (O Connor, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment), because the evidence did not affirmatively mislead the jury regarding its role in the sentencing process so as to diminish its sense of responsibility for the capital sentencing decision. Such evidence was not false at the time it was admitted and did not even pertain to the jury's sentencing role. The trial court's instructions, moreover, emphasized the importance of that role and never con-1Page: Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
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