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Washington DC U.S. Supreme Court building. shutterstock.com

On Feb. 25, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision (McKinney v. Arizona, 589 U.S. ___ (2020)), affirmed a judgment of the Arizona Supreme Court which had upheld a death sentence. More than 20 years earlier, the defendant, James McKinney, had been convicted by a jury of two first-degree murders. Under Arizona law at the time, he was eligible for the death sentence if the trial judge found at least one aggravating circumstance. The judge so found, and thus a death sentence was imposed.

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