18 U.S. Code § 3595 - Review of a sentence of death
Review of a sentence of death
In a case in which a sentence of death is imposed, the sentence shall be subject to review by the court of appeals upon appeal by the defendant. Notice of appeal must be filed within the time specified for the filing of a notice of appeal. An appeal under this section may be consolidated with an appeal of the judgment of conviction and shall have priority over all other cases.
(b)Review.—The court of appeals shall review the entire record in the case, including—
(c) Decision and Disposition.—
The court of appeals shall address all substantive and procedural issues raised on the appeal of a sentence of death, and shall consider whether the sentence of death was imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor and whether the evidence supports the special finding of the existence of an aggravating factor required to be considered under section 3592.
(2) Whenever the court of appeals finds that—
the sentence of death was imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor;
the admissible evidence and information adduced does not support the special finding of the existence of the required aggravating factor; or
the proceedings involved any other legal error requiring reversal of the sentence that was properly preserved for appeal under the rules of criminal procedure,
the court shall remand the case for reconsideration under section 3593 or imposition of a sentence other than death. The court of appeals shall not reverse or vacate a sentence of death on account of any error which can be harmless, including any erroneous special finding of an aggravating factor, where the Government establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the error was harmless.
The court of appeals shall state in writing the reasons for its disposition of an appeal of a sentence of death under this section.
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