ATLANTA (AP) -- In the last five years, the Georgia Supreme Court has considered eight cases where lower courts threw out a death sentence handed down by a trial jury.
Each time, Georgia's highest court reinstated the original sentence.
That result pleases prosecutors, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( http://bit.ly/1bYUfpb ) reports. But defense attorneys and capital punishment opponents say it's troubling.
The cases typically involve a condemned inmate appealing his death sentence by arguing that his lawyer performed below required standards. Several appeals judges have agreed that an inadequate defense helped prosecutors reach the unanimous jury vote that Georgia law requires for the death penalty.
In most of the cases, the Supreme Court hasn't disagreed that defense lawyers were substandard. But the justices overruled the appeals courts by deciding that poor performance didn't affect jurors' decisions.