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The U.S. Attorney General Authorizes Seeking Death Penalty for Particular Cases


We know that each state in the USA has its own right to make corrections in judicial system. That is every state has power to adopt its own laws and to determine the kind of penalty for breaking any of these laws. So there are different approaches in determination of penalties for murder.
 
For example, one criminal case in Fresno, California, was not an ordinary one, because the criminal process resulted in death penalty that is not common for California judicial system. 

That was the newly appointed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder who had authorized prosecutors to seek the death penalty in criminal case connected with federal corrections officer's killing. One local attorney has notified that the case would be the first federal death-penalty case, in recent memory, tried in Fresno, California.

Now more facts about the cause celebre. There were convicted two prisoners at Atwater, California's high-security federal penitentiary who stabbed and killed a correctional officer Jose Rivera. He was a U.S. Navy veteran who served in a period of four years in the military, including two tours in Iraq. The convicted Sablan and Guerrero, who were both from Guam, stabbed the officer through the heart with a prison-made shank. Both of them were already serving life sentences for earlier crimes. Acting U.S. Attorney Larry Brown was authorized and directed by Eric Holder to seek the death penalty against Jose Cabrera Sablan and James Ninete Leon Guerrero.

Prosecutors said it was an extraordinarily rare event that the death penalty had been sought in the federal court. But this case could not be treated in some other way: a correctional officer in the line of duty was callously murdered; he had no chance to escape. Earlier, before the process had been brought in, the U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced the two killers would face first-degree murder charges; he called it a death penalty case. But first of all local officials had to prove that to the Attorney General's Office in Washington, D.C. After that the Attorney General's Office has approved the decision: prosecutors could seek death penalty. 

We have mentioned that this case was rather extraordinary for Fresno, but it had some precedents in other states. Federal officials were authorized for seeking the first-degree murder charge for Cary Stayner, who was convicted for killing naturalist Joie Ruth Armstrong in Yosemite National Park. He ended pleading guilty in exchange for a life sentence, no chance to release.

Though later Stayner was convicted and sentenced to death in state court for murdering Yosemite sightseers Carole Sund, her daughter Juli, and their Argentine friend Silvina Pelosso.



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