Appeals court limits evidence in certain noncapital cases
BY WORLD CAPITOL BUREAU
Oct 15, 2002
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The
Court of Criminal Appeals said
Monday that people who are
convicted of noncapital crimes
don't have a right to present
mitigating evidence that might
affect their sentences.
The ruling was on an appeal
by Gregory Kyle Malone, who
was convicted of a Tulsa County burglary and rape in 1999
and sentenced to concurrent
terms of 20 and 50 years. The
court denied his appeal.
Malone contended that he
was denied fair sentencing because the trial judge refused to
allow him to present mitigating
evidence. The Court of Criminal Appeals previously rejected
his claim but granted his request for a rehearing after the
Oklahoma County Public Defender's Office joined his effort.
Both the defendant and the
state can present additional evidence that might affect sentencing, but only in cases in
which the punishment is up to
the judge, the court ruled.
In cases in which the defendant has demanded sentencing
by the jury or in which the
judge has assigned that task to
the jury, "there simply is no
provision allowing for mitigating evidence to be presented,"
the court said.
"This is a limitation enacted
by our Legislature, and the limitation is undoubtedly constitutional," the judges said.