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“River of Fire”: In New Memoir, Sister Helen Prejean Reflects on Decades of Fighting Executions

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The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to resume the death penalty after a more than 15-year moratorium. This week Attorney General William Barr proposed fast-tracking executions in mass murder cases, and last month ordered the execution of five death row prisoners beginning in December. The federal government has executed just three people since 1963 — the last being in 2003. The death penalty is widely condemned by national governments, international bodies and human rights groups across the world. Experts say capital punishment does not help deter homicides and that errors and racism in the criminal justice system extend to those sentenced to death. We speak with Sister Helen Prejean, a well-known anti-death-penalty activist who began her prison ministry over 30 years ago. She is the author of the best-selling book “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty,” which was turned into an Academy Award-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. …

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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