SCOTUS to decide if prosecution, defense can share experts in capital case

Source: National Public Radio [US state media]

“[T]he U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case that could determine the fate of two of the condemned men in the Razorback state, as well as others on death row elsewhere. At issue is whether an indigent defendant whose sanity is a significant factor in his trial, is entitled to assistance from a mental health expert witness who is independent of the prosecutors. In 1986 James McWilliams was convicted of the rape and murder of a store clerk in Tuscaloosa, Ala. It is not his conviction that is before the court, but his death sentence. … the jury, by a vote of 10-to-2 recommended he be put to death. Under Alabama law, however, a jury recommendation is not binding on the judge. The critical sentencing hearing in McWilliams'[s] case took place six weeks later and after the defense requested a neuropsychological evaluation of the defendant.” (04/24/17)