Biden's Justice Dept. keeps hard line in death row cases
An Associated Press review of dozens of legal filings shows that President Joe Biden’s Justice Department is fighting just as vigorously as Donald Trump's did to uphold death row inmates' sentences, despite Biden's opposition to capital punishment.
US to pay $88M to families, victims of SC church massacre
Families of nine victims killed in a racist attack at a Black South Carolina church have reached a settlement with the Justice Department over a faulty background check that allowed Dylann Roof to purchase the gun he used in the 2015 massacre.
On federal death row, inmates talk about Biden, executions
Inmates on federal death row tell The Associated Press that a leading topic of conversation through airducts they use to communicate is whether President Joe Biden will keep a campaign pledge to halt federal executions. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)CHICAGO – On federal death row, prisoners fling notes on a string under each other’s cell doors and converse through interconnected air ducts. Everyone on federal death row was convicted of killing someone, their victims often suffering brutal, painful deaths. Some 40% of federal death row inmates are Black, compared with about 13% of the U.S. population. In December, 70% of the death row inmates had COVID-19, some possibly infected via air ducts through which they communicate.
Big challenge: Biden is pressed to end federal death penalty
Action to stop scheduling new executions could take immediate pressure off Biden from opponents of the death penalty. But they want him to go much further, from bulldozing the federal death chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana, to striking the death penalty from U.S. statutes entirely. In the 22 states that have struck the death penalty from their statutes, none succeeded in passing the required laws without bipartisan support. Q: WILL BIDEN GET PUSHBACK IF HE SEEKS TO END THE FEDERAL DEATH PENALTY? Biden may also feel an obligation to do something big on the death penalty, given his past support for it.
In Americas oldest city, a reckoning over Confederate past
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. In Americas oldest city, a debate over history is looming, as residents and elected officials join the anguished reckoning over race that is now gripping much of the country. Over the years, the plaza has become home to public monuments, including the Confederate memorial. The Confederate memorial has been the subject of hand-wringing before, especially after a young white supremacist, Dylann Roof, opened fire on African American churchgoers in South Carolina three years ago. In the aftermath of that violence, there was talk of moving the memorial but city leaders declined. One of the plaques notes how Confederate imagery has been used as symbols of resistance to civil rights.
5 years after church massacre, S Carolina protects monuments
He also left behind pictures of himself holding the gun used in the killings, posing at historic Civil War and African American sites and holding the Confederate flag. Outraged political leaders came together and overwhelmingly voted to take down a Confederate flag that flew near a monument to Confederate soldiers on the Statehouse lawn. The law protects all historical monuments and names of buildings, requiring a two-thirds vote from the state General Assembly to make any changes. The president of the University of South Carolina wants lawmakers to let the school remove the name of J. Marion Sims from a women's dorm. The time has come to take down the monuments that honor the evil that was done in the name of Charleston, in the name of South Carolina," Rivers said Tuesday at the foot of Calhoun's statue.
Families of Dylann Roof victims can sue US government, court rules
Randall Hill - Pool/Getty Images(CNN) - The families of the nine people slaughtered in a South Carolina church in 2015 can sue the US government for negligence, an appeals court has ruled. The US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's ruling that protected the government from liability under two federal laws. Roof had been arrested on a drug charge that would have blocked the gun sale had it been properly reported during the background check, the court found. Victims' families sued, alleging the government was negligent in its background check. If it had been performed properly, "no one disputes" it would have kept him from buying the gun, the appeals court wrote.