KU News Service

Media advisory: Supreme Court sides with Kansas, arguments presented by KU Law professor

Wed, 01/20/2016

LAWRENCE — The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it ruled in favor of the state of Kansas and reversed a decision by the Kansas Supreme Court that had vacated the death sentences of three men: Sidney Gleason and brothers Reginald and Jonathan Carr. The court voted 8-1 in rejecting arguments that the Eighth Amendment was violated either by failing to instruct jurors that mitigating circumstances did not have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, or by conducting the sentencing proceedings of the Carr brothers jointly rather than separately.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Stephen McAllister, the E.S. & Tom W. Hampton Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Kansas, argued the cases on behalf of the state of Kansas. McAllister, who is also Kansas solicitor general, is available to speak about today’s ruling and related topics.

“This welcome decision clarifies the federal law that applies in death penalty cases and reaches the result the state sought in these cases: reinstatement of the death sentences. The sentences here were recommended by conscientious Kansas juries who heard all of the evidence and took their duty seriously. I am honored to work with our attorney general and his office in serving the state of Kansas, and this decision vindicates our efforts.”

McAllister and Schmidt appeared before the high court in October. McAllister argued a separate case in the same week and has appeared before the court nine times during his career.

The case will now return to the Kansas Supreme Court to determine if additional proceedings are necessary. To schedule an interview with McAllister, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or For more information about the Kansas Attorney General’s office and its role in the case, visit

Kristi Neufeld, with the KU Cancer Center, at #KUelevate .

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