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Dylann Roof

Here's how Dylann Roof's lawyers plan to save him from the death penalty



The man accused of gunning down nine people in a Charleston church last year, claiming he wanted to start a "race war," is facing the death penalty.

But his lawyers have argued not that Dylann Roof doesn't deserve death, but that the death penalty itself is unconstitutional.

The attorneys filed a legal challenge to the death penalty on Monday night, but said they would drop if it if prosecutors stopped seeking Roof's death, CNN reports.

If, as we contend here, the [Federal Death Penalty Act] is unconstitutional, no one can be lawfully sentenced to death or executed under it.
Roof's lawyers

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in May that prosecutors would pursue the death penalty.

But the defense team argues the death penalty violates the Fifth Amendment (right to not be a witness against oneself) and the Eight (forbidding cruel and unusual punishment).

Should Roof face the death penalty?

CNN reports there are about 60 people on federal death row, with the latest addition being Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. 

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