Judge declares death penalty unconstitutional

HOUSTON (AP) - A state district judge in Houston is answering a
torrent of high-profile criticism after he declared the death penalty unconstitutional.
Judge Kevin Fine said during a court hearing Friday he is not
legislating from the bench and there is no precedent to guide him
in resolving the issues raised by defense attorneys in a pre-trial
motion in a capital murder case.
Fine has been heavily criticized since Thursday, when he grant a
motion by attorneys for a man accused of fatally shooting a Houston
woman and wounding her sister in June 2008.
Harris County District Attorney Patricia Lykos, as well Texas
Attorney General Greg Abbott and Gov. Rick Perry criticized Fine's
ruling, calling it judicial activism.

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