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Friday, February 24, 2006
In Oregon v. Guzek, No. 04-928 (Feb. 22, 2006), the Supreme Court held that the defendant, after being convicted of murder, did not have an Eighth Amendment right to introduce live testimony of an alibi at his death sentencing proceeding. The Court explained that sentencing proceedings traditionally concern how, not whether, a defendant committed the crime. Alibi evidence, however, concerns only whether, not how, the defendant committed the crime. In addition, the evidence attacks a previously determined matter, something the law typically discourages. Third, the impact of excluding new live testimony concerning an alibi was limited because the defendant was free to re-introduce all the evidence that had been introduced at the original trial, including the transcript of the prior trial.