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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

No Trial Date or Death Penalty Decision in Dylann Roof Federal Case

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
There is still no trial date in the federal case against accused Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof, and still no decision on whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

At a hearing this morning, Judge Richard Gergel heard from both sides of the case on their progress towards trial. 

Prosecutors said their case likely wouldn't be ready before Roof's trial on state charges in July. One reason for the delay is the lack of resolution on the death penalty. 

Roof's attorneys have already indicated his willingness to plead guilty to the federal charges if the death penalty is taken off the table. 

But that decision likely won't come for a few more months as the government says it will forward the case to a committee that will then make a recommendation to the attorney general on whether the death penalty should be sought.

Roof faces 33 federal charges in the June 17th shootings at Emanuel AME church in downtown Charleston that left 9 people dead and 3 others wounded. 

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson has already said she intends to seek the death penalty for Roof on the state charges.

Source: NBC news, December 1, 2015

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