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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 -…

Dylann Roof: Charleston shooter won't offer evidence to spare life

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
A white supremacist who killed nine black worshippers in a church in South Carolina will offer no evidence to spare his own life at a hearing.

Dylann Roof told a judge he plans on calling no witnesses when jurors decide next week decide whether he will face life in prison or the death penalty.

Roof, 22, was found guilty on 33 counts, including federal hate crimes, earlier this month.

His 2015 attack, carried out during a Bible study session, shocked the US.

Among his victims were pastors, recent graduates, librarians and coaches.

Roof later told police he wanted to start a race war with his attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, and he was photographed holding the Civil War battle flag, which to many is a symbol of hate.

He is acting as his own lawyer in the final stage of his trial, after dismissing his defence team.

But District Judge Richard Gergel advised Roof to talk to his grandfather, who is a lawyer, and other family members one last time before the trial begins.

Judge Gergel added Roof can change his mind and bring back his attorneys up until opening statements next week.

Serial killer Ted Bundy, Washington-area sniper John Allen Muhammed and Fort Hood attacker Nidal Hasan also acted as their own lawyers, but ended up with death sentences.

According to the Post and Courier, the prosecution has a list of more than 30 possible witnesses to present.

Source: BBC News, december 28, 2016

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