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

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…

Kansas: Prosecutor could seek death penalty in deputies' deaths

Antoine Fielder
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A man with a long criminal history has been charged in the shooting deaths of two Wyandotte County deputies

Antoine Fielder is charged with two counts of capital murder and one count of aggravated robbery. 

Wyandotte District Attorney Mark Dupree said in a 13-minute news conference Friday that his office plans to move forward in the case, which could include seeking the death penalty.

“We will try this case in a fair and impartial way, because that’s what the constitution says and what this office has always done,” Dupree said. "The death penalty is legal and we will consider all things.

“At the appropriate time, if and when we pursue the death penalty, those things will come out,” Dupree said.

A judge granted Dupree's request for a $2 million bond Fielder remains in the Johnson County, Kan. jail. His first court appearance has not officially been set.

On Friday, June 15, Deputy Patrick Rohrer, 35, and Deputy Theresa King, 44, were transporting inmates, including Fielder, from the Wyandotte County Courthouse.

Fielder allegedly overpowered the deputies and shot and killed them, possibly with the deputies’ guns.

The aggravated robbery portion of the charges announced Friday stem from Fielder stealing the gun of Deputy Rohrer.

Fielder was shot during the incident and hospitalized. He was released from the hospital and back behind bars Wednesday. 

Dupree declined to provide further details of the incident during Friday's news conference.

Fielder is also facing other previous charges. He was at the Wyandotte County Courthouse on June 15 for a hearing on robbery charges. He was charged in a 2017 murder in Kansas City, Missouri in which he is accused of killing a woman a day after Christmas. He’s also facing aggravated assault and battery charges.

Fielder also remains a suspect in Kelsey Ewonus' 2015 murder. He already went on trial twice for her murder but both ended in hung juries. Prosecutors blame the mistrials on witness tampering and claim he intimidated people. 

Kansas hasn't executed an inmate on death row since 1965.

In Kansas, the death penalty must be decided by a unanimous vote of a jury in cases of first-degree murder without aggravating factors.

Kansas is not big on capital punishment, although it is among 33 states where it is legal. Only two of those death-penalty states — Kansas and New Hampshire — have carried out no executions since capital punishment was reinstated in the U.S. in 1976. Kansas does have nine inmates on “death row,” but complex laws and a Kansas Supreme Court have resulted in executions being postponed indefinitely.

Source: kshab.com, Hannah Schmidt, June 22, 2018

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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