Jared Loughner could be spared death penalty in federal, but not in state (videos)
Jared Loughner, the sole suspect in the horrific Arizona shooting that occurred on January 8, 2011 is expected to face two sets of prosecution: federal and state. On January 10, 2011, the alleged gunman Jared Loughner appeared at the Sandra Day O’Connor Courthouse in Phoenix, Arizona to face five federal counts on murder and attempted murder. In addition to the federal charges, Jared Loughner will face state charges.
Jared Loughner faces federal charges for the crimes committed against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Gabriel Zimmerman, Pamela Simon, Judge John Roll and Ron Barber. Jared Loughner will face state charges for the murders of Phyllis Scheck, Dorothy Murray, Dorwin Stoddard and Christina Green. He may face attempted murder charges for 11 other Arizona shooting victims.
Jared Loughner is represented by Judy Clarke on the federal charges. As a criminal complaint or indictment hasn’t been handed down on state charges he’s yet to find an attorney to handle that portion of his case. The Pima County Arizona prosecutor is Barbara LaWall. She has confirmed that state charges will be filed.
Federal public defender Judy Clarke is well known as an opponent to the death penalty and has a lengthy record of having her client’s sentences reduced to life. Such is the case with the Unabomber, Ted “Theodore” Kaczynski, Susan Smith and Eric Robert Rudolph.
Judy Clarke has been called the “One Woman Legal Dream Team.” You may read a profile of Judy Clarke at USA Today here: Judy Clarke Profile
As bloggers, pundits and many media outlets speculate that the only viable strategy Judy Clarke has available for a life sentence is an insanity plea; there is a possibility that Jared Loughner may receive death anyway: In a state trial.
If you were to place your bet now, many would wager that Judy Clarke will defend her client with the same fervor she is known for and that Loughner would serve life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murders of Federal Judge John Roll and employee of the United States Gabriel Zimmerman. Though that may occur, it is likely that during a state trial, jurors may be moved towards the death penalty regarding the murder of 9-year-old Christina Green, should the state of Arizona seek the death penalty.
Could Jared Loughner avoid the death penalty in one case only to find in the state trial he will pay the ultimate price for his crimes?
It is possible. At this time, however, the state of Arizona is conducting legal research to determine the best way to proceed with their case.
*Note, early reports from deputies and detectives suggest there will not be any issue proving Jared Loughner is responsible for the murders as authorities have the weapon in question, he was tackled at the scene, and the shooting massacre was caught on videotape.
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