Toomey Pushes Eric’s Law

WASHINGTON, DC – PA U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey joined with several other lawmakers in introducing Eric’s Law, a bill aimed to deliver justice to victims and their families in federal death penalty cases. The legislation would permit prosecutors to impanel a second jury for sentencing if the first jury fails to reach a unanimous sentencing decision. Currently, prosecutors can not impanel a second jury for sentencing if a jury in a federal death penalty case fails to reach a unanimous decision on a sentence. Instead, the judge must impose a sentence other than the death penalty. Eric’s Law would allow, but not require, prosecutors to impanel a second jury in these instances. Eric’s Law is named for Eric Williams, a federal correctional officer who was murdered by an inmate at the U.S. Penitentiary in Wayne County, in 2013. At the time he took Officer Williams’ life, the inmate was already serving a life sentence for murder. Although a federal jury found the prisoner guilty of the crime, the inmate received essentially no additional punishment because one juror out of twelve would not vote for a death penalty sentence.


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