The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied a last-ditch appeal maneuver by Terrick Nooner, sentenced to death in 1993 for the slaying of Scott Stobaugh in a Little Rock laundromat.
The court, in a 4-3 decision, rejected a request for a recall of the mandate on the argument that evidence was lacking of whether a jury had heard mitigating evidence about Nooner’s childhood and mental treatment.
Writing for the majority, Justice Donald Corbin writes dozens of pages about the record of this case through multiple state and federal appeals, before essentially concluding all the issues had been decided properly previously. The relief that Nooner sought in the latest proceeding is a measure of state “grace” that should be available in only the most extraordinary of cases, he said.
The dissent by Chief Justice Jim Hannah, joined by Paul Danielson and Jo Hart, said there were problems in sentencing procedure with application in other cases that should be decided in this case. They favored reopening the direct appeal for a new sentencing procecdure.
It occurs to me that this 20-year-old case — left today with a Death Row inmate whose execution remains uncertain because of challenges to lethal injection — is a pretty good example of why the speedier finality of life in prison without parole is one of several a
rguments against the death penalty.