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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…

Texas: White supremacist gang members sentenced to death for killing fellow supremacist inmate

White supremacist
All three men — Ricky Fackrell, Christopher Cramer and victim Leo Johns — were members of the white supremacist gang, Soldiers of the Aryan Culture.

Two white supremacist gang members were sentenced to death this week after being convicted of killing a third gang member while incarcerated at a Texas prison in 2014.

Ricky Fackrell, 34, from Vernal, Utah, and Christopher Cramer, 36, of Ogden, Utah were both incarcerated at a prison in Beaumont, Texas when they began conspiring to kill fellow inmate Leo Johns in March 2014, according to a press release [see below] from the Department of Justice. All three men were members of the white supremacist prison gang Soldiers of the Aryan Culture.

Cramer and Fackrell stabbed Leo Johns to death in June 2014 and were indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder nearly two years later, on March 3, 2016.

Both men were convicted by a federal jury of murder in the first degree on May 9. They were sentenced to death on Wednesday after the jury spent eight hours deliberating.

“White supremacists subscribe to a repugnant, hateful ideology and use it to justify criminal activity,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in response to the sentencing, according to the Department of Justice. “The murder committed in this case was an act of senseless, barbaric violence. Now that the jury has spoken, justice will be done.”

“I want to thank our fabulous prosecutors John Craft, Joseph Batte, and Sonia Jimenez for their hard work,” he continued. “With their help, this Department will continue to prosecute violent criminals with the aggressiveness and relentlessness necessary in cases like these.”

U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown expressed a similar sentiment.

“These defendants had a violent history, and when the murder happens in a prison, it is clear that the defendants are always going to be a danger,” Brown said. “This was an appropriate case for the death penalty and we will continue to seek that punishment in the worst cases.”

Cramer and Fackrell were both serving time for unrelated armed robberies, while Johns was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, NBC News reports.

According to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Davilyn Walston, the slaying likely occurred because one gang member offended another, NBC News reports.

Source: oxygen.com, Sharon Lynn Pruitt, June 15, 2018


White Supremacists Sentenced to Death for Murdering Fellow Inmate at Texas Prison


Two federal inmates convicted of killing another inmate at a Beaumont Prison in the Eastern District of Texas were sentenced to death today.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown for the Eastern District of Texas made the announcement.

Ricky Fackrell, 34, of Vernal, Utah, and Christopher Cramer, 36, of Ogden, Utah, were indicted by a federal grand jury on March 3, 2016 and charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.  They were both convicted by a federal jury of murder in the first degree on May 9, following a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.  Today, after about eight hours of deliberation, the jury in Beaumont sentenced both Fackrell and Cramer to death.  Judge Crone immediately sentenced the defendants accordingly.

“White supremacists subscribe to a repugnant, hateful ideology and use it to justify criminal activity,” Attorney General Sessions said.  “The murder committed in this case was an act of senseless, barbaric violence. Now that the jury has spoken, justice will be done.  I want to thank our fabulous prosecutors John Craft, Joseph Batte, and Sonia Jimenez for their hard work. With their help, this Department will continue to prosecute violent criminals with the aggressiveness and relentlessness necessary in cases like these.”

“These defendants had a violent history, and when the murder happens in a prison, it is clear that the defendants are always going to be a danger,” said U.S. Attorney Brown.  “This was an appropriate case for the death penalty and we will continue to seek that punishment in the worst cases.”

According to information presented in court, beginning in March 2014, Cramer and Fackrell, inmates of the U.S. Penitentiary in Beaumont, Texas, conspired to murder fellow inmate, Leo Johns.  On June 9, 2014, Cramer and Fackrell stabbed Leo Johns to death at the federal prison. All three inmates were members of the white supremacy group, Soldiers of the Aryan Culture.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Special Investigative Services.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Craft and Joseph R. Batte of the Eastern District of Texas and Trial Attorney Sonia V. Jimenez of the Justice Department’s Capital Case Section.

Source: justice.gov, June 13, 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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