After South Carolina judges recused themselves from the case, Dylann Roof’s appeal was denied.
According to the Associated Press, a federal court has denied Dylann Roof’s plea for a new appellate hearing to challenge his death sentence and conviction for the 2015 slayings of nine members of a Black South Carolina congregation.
Roof’s appeal for a fresh hearing and his petition for a court of replacement judges from other circuits to hear his case were both denied by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday. “Only judges of the Circuit who are in regular active service may make the determination to rehear a matter en banc,” the court said, citing a precedent from the United States Supreme Court.
Roof’s lawyers said in his appeal that he was incorrectly allowed to represent himself during his sentencing and that he hindered jurors from hearing information regarding his mental state, according to the Associated Press. Roof was “under the delusion that he would be rescued from prison by white-nationalists,” according to the attorneys, “but only if he kept his mental-impairments off of the public record.”
See below for more Associated Press reporting.
Roof’s appeals procedure has been thrown into an unusual tangle by the fact that all of the judges on the 4th Circuit, which encompasses South Carolina, have recused themselves from hearing his case. As an assistant US attorney, one of their own, Judge Jay Richardson, prosecuted Roof’s case.
Roof was the first person in the United States to be condemned to death for a federal hate crime when Richardson headed the case against him in 2017. Roof allegedly opened fire during a Bible study’s final prayer at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, showering down dozens of bullets on all there. He was 21 years old at the time.
Roof’s case was heard in May by a panel of judges from three other appeal districts. Roof’s conviction and death sentence were upheld unanimously by those judges three months later, along with a stinging condemnation of Roof’s crimes.
The judges said, “No cold record or rigorous reading of legislation and precedents can reflect the whole horror of what Roof perpetrated.” “His offenses warrant the most severe punishment that a just society can impose.”
Roof then requested that the case be heard by the whole appellate court. This is a condensed version of the information.