On Monday night, defense lawyers for accused mass murderer Dylann Roof filed a challenge to the death penalty sentence that federal prosecutors are seeking in his murder trial.
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Roof’s lawyers laid out their argument in a 30-page motion and presented to the court:
“[T]his Court should rule that the federal death penalty constitutes a legally prohibited, arbitrary, cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by both the Fifth and Eighth Amendments.”
Roof, of course, is accused of killing nine black members of the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015 after attending a bible study with the group.
The Justice Department seeks the death penalty for the murders in addition to hate crime charges, alleging that he targeted his victims on the basis of their race and religion.
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U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement in July of last year that Roof intentionally targeted the victims based on race and religion for the purpose of setting back race relations:
“To carry out these twin goals of fanning racial flames and exacting revenge, Roof further decided to seek out and murder African Americans because of their race. An essential element of his plan, however, was to find his victims inside of a church, specifically an African-American church, to ensure the greatest notoriety and attention to his actions.”
But the defense’s motion argues that a punishment which can be proven to be “unconstitutional” cannot be enacted:
“The facts of this case are indisputably grave. But if, as we contend here, the FDPA [Federal Death Penalty Act] is unconstitutional, no one can be lawfully sentenced to death or executed under it, no matter what his crimes.”
The motion goes on to state that the “constitutional” challenge is the result of the prosecution’s refusal to accept Roof’s guilty pleas and willingness to serve multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole.
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The defense also writes that the challenge will be dropped if the prosecution drops the death penalty and accepts Roof’s guilty plea.
However, it’s not clear from reports just how Roof’s team plans to show that the death penalty is unconstitutional, other than claim that “arbitrary, cruel and unusual punishment violates both the Fifth and Eighth Amendments.”
Meanwhile, people are lashing out all over social media and in comments sections over the Roof team’s motion.
On Jezebel’s article, the comments section is filled with strong reactions:
Reader “SweetLittleButtercup” writes:
“That’s when we know that the Constitution works. When we acknowledge the constitutional rights of a little sh*t like this.”
While “Molly with the Mediocre Hair” chimes in:
“I mean, they’re probably not wrong. The death penalty sure seems like cruel and unusual punishment to me and to a number of Supreme Court justices over the years, although the official word from on high is that capital punishment is permissible under the 5th Amendment.
“On the other hand, f**k Dylann Roof. I’m not sure anyone ever deserves to die, but he’s testing my thinking on that subject.””
Over on The Hill’s article, people are spelling out their feelings pretty plainly.
“PDS The Christian View” writes:
“If I was on Roof’s jury, he would be sentenced to die.”
Reader “Maya” adds:
“I am a pretty cynical person. I can be kind of a b**ch, I will admit. The only time that I have lost it watching news and felt we as a country we are beyond redemption was when this man killed all the people at that church. Kill him. I do not care. Just kill him.”
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Three federal inmates have been executed in the United States following the reinstatement in 1988 of the federal death penalty— Timothy McVeigh, Juan Raul Garza, and Louis Jones.
Currently, around 60 individuals are on federal death row, with Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev among the most recent additions.
The post Defense Used by Dylann Roof’s Lawyer to Try and Get Him Out of Death Penalty Has America Furious appeared first on Independent Journal Review.
Source: Independent Journal Review