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South Dakota man's death penalty case to be heard by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

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The Judicial Update

June 28, 2011

by Tommy Schneider

South Dakota: The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is set to review an appeal of a 1997 South Dakota Supreme Court ruling in the case of Donald Moeller. Moeller was convicted of the 1990 rape and murder of a 9 year old South Dakota girl. He was first convicted in 1992 and sentenced to death, a ruling that was appealed and overturned by the Supreme Court due to improper evidence. He was convicted again in 1997, a ruling that was upheld by the Supreme Court. Moeller's attorney Julie Pitt focused her arguments on a question posed by jurors from the Circuit Court case in which jurors were confused if a life in prison sentence would allow Moeller the chance for parole. Pitt argues that the death sentence was given based on jurors "making a decision on whether he should live or die based on something totally speculative."[1]