Jan 12, 2017 Dylann Roof’s quickly-imposed death sentence must not encourage quick death verdicts in other capital cases
Dylann Roof represented himself at his federal capital sentencing trial phase. He put forth no effort to prevent a death sentence, which helps explain how the jury quickly reached a death sentence verdict (within three hours of deliberation) at the sentencing phase The trial judge quickly followed up by the next day with eighteen death sentences and fifteen life sentences.
When capital defendants have lawyers advocating for them, hopefully jurors will take more time in deciding whether to recommend the ultimate punishment of death.
The refrain might be echoed that if the death penalty were designed for anyone, it was certainly designed for Roof. I answer that the death penalty should be abolished, and not designed for nobody. I also answer that as much as Roof’s massacre was racist and evil, he remains a human being, and if we refuse to recognize the human being in him, we are making less of ourselves and approaching his own dehumanizing ways.
Now Roof awaits his state murder trial. We are left to see whether he will keep his legal team throughout all phases of his state capital trial.