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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

South Carolina: 600 potential jurors to be called for state's case against Dylann Roof

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
The Charleston County Clerk of Court will call 600 potential jurors as attorneys work to seat a jury for the state's case against Emanuel AME Church mass shooting suspect Dylann Roof.

The pool of potential jurors will report on June 28, some 2 weeks before the start of the July 11 trial, for questionnaires and basic qualifications. Then, the jurors not excluded in that initial round will report to court starting July 11 in groups of 20 until a full jury is seated for Roof's trial.

Meanwhile, attorneys are finalizing the questionnaires.

The court told attorneys in a separate filing that any changes to the jury survey must be submitted by Feb. 15. Two day later, attorneys have to complete any motions related to the surveys.

In June, the court will let the defense and the state know which jurors can be excused, adding that a hearing could be held on the excusing of jurors on June 13.

Attorneys have to file all pre-trial motions by June 14. The hearings on the pre-trial motions will be held over a 3-day period starting June 28.

And that will lead everyone involved into the start of Roof's trial.

Roof is accused of fatally shooting nine Emanuel AME Church parishioners in a racially motivated attack on June 17, 2015. Among the dead was the church's pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was also a state senator.

Roof sat in a bible study for about an hour before opening fire on the group, investigators say.

The state is seeking the death penalty for Roof. His attorneys have said Roof is willing to enter a guilty plea if the state removes the possiblity of a death sentence.

Roof is also facing federal hate crime charges for the shooting, and that trial will commence once the state trial has concluded.

Source: WCIV news, January 28, 2016

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