This Year’s Case
James Erin McKinney was convicted of first-degree murder in Arizona and sentenced to death. At sentencing, the court refused to take into account his history of PTSD and childhood abuse. Mr. McKinney then brought a federal habeas petition, arguing that the state courts should have considered this evidence and that he should receive a new sentencing hearing. In this year’s Keedy Cup, Penn Law’s finest argue two questions: (1) whether the Arizona Supreme Court was required to apply current law when weighing mitigating and aggravating evidence to determine whether a death sentence is warranted, and (2) whether the correction of error under Eddings v. Oklahoma, under which courts must consider all relevant individualized mitigating evidence in capital sentencing, requires resentencing.