Court Won't Hear Ill. Foot Doctor's Death Sentence

The Supreme Court won't get involved in a death penalty case in which a convicted killer in Illinois complained that prosecutors focused the jury's attention on the fact that he never testified on his own behalf.

The court did not comment on its action Monday to leave in place the conviction and sentence of Ronald Mikos, a foot doctor who was facing allegations of Medicare fraud. He was sentenced to death in 2005 on charges that he shot a disabled nurse and former patient, Joyce Brannon, to keep her from testifying against him.

He did not testify in his own defense during his trial. His lawyers said prosecutors told the jury his decision not to testify showed a lack of remorse for what he did. During the penalty phase, the jury said his lack of remorse contributed to the decision to sentence him to death.

Mikos's lawyer said his silence did not show a lack of remorse and objected to the prosecution's tactic of using it against him.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld the sentence.

The case is Mikos v. United States, 08-1280.