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…

Florida Prosecutors Seeking Death Penalty Against Lois Riess

Lois Riess
(ABC 6 News) -- Prosecutors in Florida filed a notice of their intent to seek the death penalty for Lois Riess on Monday.

In early June, Riess was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder with a firearm, grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft and criminal use of personal identification information of a deceased individual, $5,000 or more.  Riess pleaded not guilty to all charges.

In court documents filed on Monday, the state outlined its reasoning for pursuing the death penalty, writing that Riess killed Pamela Hutchinson in Fort Myers Beach, Florida for "the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest or effecting an escape from custody; that the capital felony was committed for pecuniary gain; that the capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification."

According to authorities, Riess killed her husband David in late March at their home in Blooming Prairie, From there, law enforcement said she fled to Florida where she befriended Hutchinson.

Hutchinson's body was found on the bathroom floor of a hotel with a towel draped over her. The medical examiner says Hutchinson was, "shot with a small caliber round bearing similar characteristics to a .22 caliber bullet and then draped with a towel.”

Riess is also suspected of killing her husband David. According to court documents, he was killed in the bathroom of their home in Blooming Prairie with a .22 caliber handgun and a blanket was placed over his head. Authorities went as far as to say the modus operandi in both cases were “strikingly similar.” 

Riess was arrested on April 19 in South Padre Island, Texas.

Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose said in late June that prosecutors in Minnesota were awaiting results of forensic evidence before charging her in Minnesota with her husband's death.

Source: kaaltv.com, author, July 2, 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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