Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

lunes, marzo 02, 2009

Holder Steps In To End California Federal Death Penalty Case

Well, well, well. Maybe, just maybe, somebody has been listening to all of my complaining.

Cal Law reports:
New Attorney General Eric Holder has authorized a deal that could abruptly end a rare San Francisco death penalty trial only days after it began.

Not only does Holder's reversal likely spare defendant Emile Fort his life, but it may signal a less aggressive approach to the death penalty in federal court. And it vindicates the local U.S. attorney's office: Months ago federal prosecutors in San Francisco had recommended a 40-year plea bargain for Fort to their higher-ups in Washington — only to be rebuffed by Holder's predecessor, Michael Mukasey.

The jury heard opening statements Wednesday in the case against Fort, an alleged member of San Francisco's Down Below Gang who's accused of three murders. Yet when defense lawyers arrived in Northern District Judge William Alsup's court Friday morning — expecting another day of witness testimony — federal prosecutors announced their decision to deal, said Michael Thorman, one of Fort's attorneys.

Alsup dismissed the jury and scheduled a special hearing for today. The defendant had the weekend to decide whether he wants to plead out, and Thorman anticipated that he would.

There you go. No more Washington directed death penalty trial. Fort can plead to 41 years (40 plus no credit for 16 months in state custody), which, needless to say, is a huge and probably entirely appropriate sentence. And the federal death penalty is off the table. Just like that.

I'm applauding. This is definitely a step in the right direction. It's a step toward abolition.

h/t to Sam Pratt

Etiquetas: , , , ,