Attorneys for Dylann Roof, who is accused of killing nine parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., are calling the federal case agains their client unconstitutional and want the charges dropped, the Associated Press reported. Roof’s lawyers state that the 33 federal charges he faces, which include a series of hate crimes and obstructing the practice of religion, infringe on the state’s murder case.
“The charges at issue are extremely grave, but under the Constitution they are not properly charged,” Sarah Gannett, one of Roof’s attorneys, said. “The defendant therefore requests that the indictment be dismissed.”
Despite South Carolina lacking a hate crimes statute, Gannett stressed in her motion that there is no data that shows that crimes motivated by hate go unpunished on a state level. Therefore, there is no need for the federal case against her client. Gannett also argued “that the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to prosecute him under the Commerce Clause and the 13th Amendment and that this case violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” WCSC News noted.
Ironically, Gannett said she will withdraw their motion and that her 22-year-old client would plead guilty to state charges if the feds take the death penalty off the table. Federal prosecutors have until the 25 of July to respond to Gannett’s motion.
“The motion is being made only because the statutes at issue form the basis of the government’s request for the death penalty,” the motion states. “Should the government’s death notice be withdrawn at any point in the future, the defendant will withdraw this motion and plead guilty as charged to all counts in the indictment.”
In the meantime, jury selection for Roof’s federal trial is scheduled to start on Nov. 7.
20 Pictures That Show The Powerful Resilience Of Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church
1. Mother Emanuel AME Church held its first service since the shooting death of nine African-American church members on June 17.Source:Getty 1 of 20
2. People line up to enter for Sunday service at the Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 2 of 20
3. Two children wait to enter the Emanuel AME Church June 21, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.Source:Getty 3 of 20
4. A member of the church is seen outside of Emanuel AME before its first service since the Charleston shooting.Source:Getty 4 of 20
5. A Charleston County sheriff’s deputy checks bags as people line up to enter for Sunday service at the Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 5 of 20
6. Gloria Moore watches the church as parishioners take their seats at the Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 6 of 20
7. A woman prays as she attends the Sunday service outside of the Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 7 of 20
8. People pray and listen to the Sunday service outside of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.Source:Getty 8 of 20
9. Parishioners sit at Emanuel AME Church four days after a mass shooting that claimed the lives of its pastor and eight others.Source:Getty 9 of 20
10. The Rev. Norvel Goff, right, prays at the empty seat of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.Source:Getty 10 of 20
11. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., embraces U.S. Sen Tim Scott, R-S.C., at Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 11 of 20
12. A parishioner prays at the empty seat of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney at the Emanuel AME Church.Source:Getty 12 of 20
13. The congregation departs following Sunday services at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.Source:Getty 13 of 20
14. A family is seen leaving Emanuel AME Church following Sunday services.Source:Getty 14 of 20
15. People embrace as they depart the Emanuel AME Church following Sunday services.Source:Getty 15 of 20
16. Church members comfort one another after Emanuel’s first service since the Charleston shooting.16 of 20
17. Church members comfort one another outside of Emanuel.Source:Alex Colby 17 of 20
18. A mother and son surround a memorial for the nine church members killed during the Charleston shooting.Source:Alex Colby 18 of 20
19. Charleston natives comfort each other during the church’s first service since the shooting on June 17.Source:Alex Colby 19 of 20
20. Activist DeRay McKesson is seen outside of Emanuel AME church.Source:Alex Colby 20 of 20