State v. MilesAnnotate this Case
Under Tison v. Arizona, 481 U.S. 137, 158 (1987), in determining if a defendant acted with “reckless indifference to human life” while he was a major participant in a felony, thus making him eligible for the death penalty, the fact-finder may consider evidence of the defendant’s diminished capacity.
The postconviction relief (PCR) court in this case granted Defendant relief by commuting his death sentence to a life sentence. The PCR court ruled (1) Defendant was ineligible for the death penalty under Tison because reasonable doubt existed whether he acted with the requisite reckless mental state; and (2) even if Defendant were death-eligible under Tison, he would be entitled to resentencing because he sufficiently demonstrated that the sentencing court would not have imposed the death penalty had it known of his mental health deficiencies. The Supreme Court affirmed the PCR court’s ruling that Defendant was ineligible for the death penalty under Tison, holding that the PCR court did not err by admitting diminished-capacity and voluntary-intoxication evidence in the Tison inquiry.