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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Aurora, Colo., movie theater gunman sentenced to 12 lifetimes in prison and another 3,318 years

James Holmes ordered to serve life in prison without parole plus 3,318 years
James Holmes sentenced to life in prison
without parole plus 3,318 years
The gunman who shot and killed 12 people inside a packed Aurora, Colo., movie theater in 2012 was formally sentenced Wednesday morning to life in prison without parole.

In July, a jury found James Holmes guilty on each of the 165 charges he faced in the case, unanimously rejecting an argument made by his attorneys that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. 

But last month, the same jury said he should be sentenced to life imprisonment rather than death by lethal injection, a surprising decision considering that jurors had declined earlier opportunities to spare him a death sentence.

District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. announced the sentence at a hearing Wednesday, ending a grueling, emotional trial that had stretched out for much of this year. 

As Samour had told the jurors before they deliberated on Holmes’s punishment, he was required to sentence the gunman to life in prison without parole if the jurors could not reach a unanimous decision.

But during Wednesday’s hearing, Samour made clear that he still wanted to give Holmes the most severe punishment allowed to him under the law to make it clear that Holmes will “never set foot in free society again.”


Source: The Washington Post, Mark Berman, August 26, 2015

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