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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Justice Dept. will seek death penalty for accused Charleston church gunman Dylann Roof

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
Federal prosecutors will seek a death sentence for Dylann Roof, the man accused of killing nine parishioners in a Charleston, S.C., church last year.

“Following the department’s rigorous review process to thoroughly consider all relevant factual and legal issues, I have determined that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement Tuesday. “The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision.”

State prosecutors had already announced their plans to seek the death penalty for Roof. 

While Roof had also been indicted on federal hate crime charges last summer, the Justice Department had not announced a decision about whether to seek a death sentence, causing the federal trial to be delayed multiple times.

An attorney had said that Roof would plead guilty to the federal hate crime charges, but also said he could not advise him until federal authorities decided on the death penalty.

Source: Washington Post, May 24, 2016


Dylann Roof case: Feds to seek death penalty

Federal prosecutors will seek a death sentence for Dylann Roof, the man accused of killing nine parishioners in a Charleston, S.C., church last year.

“Following the department’s rigorous review process to thoroughly consider all relevant factual and legal issues, I have determined that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement Tuesday. “The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision.”

State prosecutors had already announced their plans to seek the death penalty for Roof. While Roof had also been indicted on federal hate crime charges last summer, the Justice Department had not announced a decision about whether to seek a death sentence, causing the federal trial to be delayed multiple times.

An attorney had said that Roof would plead guilty to the federal hate crime charges, but also said he could not advise him until federal authorities decided on the death penalty.

Source: CNN, May 24, 2016

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