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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…

Dylann Roof to appeal death sentence

Dylann Roof
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A white supremacist sentenced to death for killing nine worshippers in a racist attack at a Charleston church has petitioned an appeals court for mercy.

Attorneys for Dylann Roof filed notice Tuesday they were appealing his conviction and sentence to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Earlier this month, the federal judge who presided over Roof’s trial rejected his first appeal, ruling the conviction and death sentence for the June 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME church should stand.

Roof argued his crime didn’t fit the definition of interstate commerce needed for a federal case. 

The judge ruled Roof used a telephone to call the church and the bullets and gun were manufactured in a different state.

Source: The Associated Press, May 23, 2017

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