A federal judge in Tennessee has ruled that a judge erred in ordering a new trial for a Tennessee man accused of murdering his pregnant wife.
The decision on Wednesday marks the second time a federal appeals court has struck down a new death penalty sentence.
The first ruling by a federal judge to overturn a death sentence was in 2014.
The judge, Mark Goldsmith, said his decision should not be read to mean that the sentence should be carried out, and that the state had failed to meet the requirements of due process.
Goldsmith said the judge made clear that he had decided to overturn the new sentence based on the state’s failure to show that defendant was mentally fit to stand trial.
The man’s lawyer said the ruling should not have any bearing on the defendant’s ability to stand.
The case, filed by the attorney general, argued that the judge’s ruling was a “constitutional mistake” because the man’s mental capacity did not meet the criteria of being a mentally fit person.
Goldsby said in his ruling that the defendant, Michael Michael Thomas, was not mentally fit because he had suffered from bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and PTSD, as well as substance abuse issues.
Thomas was convicted in April of killing his wife, Jennifer, in 2016.
The two were married in 2016 but divorced in 2015 after his mother’s death.
The couple had been together for 15 years.
In January 2018, Thomas was sentenced to death for the murder of his wife.