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Federal government lawyers have opposed Dylan Roof’s request for a new appellate hearing, arguing that the South Carolina man was properly convicted and convicted of the racist murders of nine members of a black congregation in 2015. The sentence was handed down.


In court documents filed Thursday, federal prosecutors argued that a three-judge panel of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals correctly ruled last month that the government had held its own against Roof, despite his opposition on several points. The case was proved.

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“The court’s decisions were correct, and there is no reason to look at them again,” federal prosecutors wrote.

related: Federal appeals court upholds Dylan Roof’s death sentence

In 2017, Roof became the first person in the US to receive the death penalty for a federal hate crime. Officials said Roof opened fire during the closing prayer of a Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, causing dozens of shots to be fired at those gathered. He was 21 years old at that time.

In his appeal, Roof’s lawyers argued that he was allowed to falsely represent himself during sentencing, which was a crucial stage in his trial. Roof successfully prevented jurors from hearing evidence about his mental health, “under the illusion,” his lawyers wrote, that “he would be saved from prison by white-nationalists—but only, oddly, if he had lost his mental health.” – Loss excluded. Public record.”

The Fourth Circuit panel initially found that the trial judge had committed no error when he found that Roof was competent, unanimously upheld his sentence in August and issued a severe reprimand of Roof’s crimes.

“No cold record or careful analysis of statutes and precedents can capture the full horror of what Roof has done,” the judges wrote. “His crimes deserve the harshest punishment a just society can impose.”

related: Jurors in Church murders convict Dylan Roof on all counts

Earlier this month, Roof filed a request that the full court consider his appeal, arguing that the judges’ ruling overly interpreted the commerce clause of the US Constitution, which regulates commerce between states. authorizes Congress to

Acknowledging the government’s argument that a combination of factors, including Roof’s posting of his views and the use of the Internet for church research, constituted “interstate commerce”, Roof’s lawyers wrote, the panel’s decision was “an amorphous, unprecedented and universal standard”. for federal commerce clause jurisdiction over local crime, effectively eliminating the traditional police power of the states in that area.”

In their response, public prosecutors wrote that the appellate court “issued a fact-bound decision that Roof used the Internet to both select Mother Emanuel as his target and to prevent his racist, violent call to action from attack.” Did it to increase my offense by posting a few hours ago.” Commerce clause completed the connection.

Dylan Roof (c), the suspect in the mass shooting that killed nine people at a Charleston church last month, appears in court with assistant defensive attorney William Maguire on July 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Grace Behm-Poe)

Whether the court gives Roof a full hearing, it remains to be seen who will hear the case. All of the Fourth Circuit judges, covering South Carolina, have distanced themselves; One of them, Judge Jay Richardson, tried Roof’s case as an assistant US attorney. The panel that heard arguments in May and delivered its August verdict was made up of judges from several other appellate circuits.

Along with his request for a full-court hearing, Roof also asked that either Chief Justice John Roberts of the US Supreme Court designate a panel to consider the hearing petition or that the Chief Justice of the Fourth Circuit within that district. nominated other judges to form such panels. .

Failing his direct appeal, Roof may file what is known as a 2255 appeal, or a request that the trial court review his sentence and the constitutionality of the sentence. He can also file a petition in the US Supreme Court or seek a pardon from the President.