WASHINGTON (WTAJ) — Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) and Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) have reintroduced a law that aims to allow federal prosecutors to impanel a second jury for the second phase of a federal death penalty case.
Titled “Eric’s Law,” the second jury would be provided in the event that the first jury fails to reach a unanimous decision. This law is named after USP Canaan correction officer Eric Williams, who was killed by an inmate in 2013 who was already serving a life sentence. The inmate was found guilty of murder but did not face any additional penalties because one of the 12 jurors voted against the death penalty, according to Congressman Keller’s office.
“Officer Williams’ tragic killing and the aftermath reveal a glaring injustice for victims of violent crime,” Keller said. “Officer Williams died protecting our community and we owe it to him and others like him to punish the violent criminals who commit these acts. In federal death penalty cases where the defendant is found guilty but not given a death sentence, Eric’s Law would affirm the option for review of the penalty phase, ensuring victims and their families have every opportunity to pursue the justice they deserve.”
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