137th Gebirg wrote:
He has been charged and the death penalty has already been sought in this case. It has been mentioned over and over now for days on all news services. This fact is not in dispute.
What one person calls jumping the gun, another calls planning ahead. Good lawyers build their careers around playing the long chess game to the last move, particularly in high-profile litigations like this one. If it means opening with a strong hand and they think it can benefit them 20 moves down the line, you can bet they will.
He has not been indicted yet; the government has filed a criminal complaint. You cannot be tried on a criminal complaint for a felony (see: 5th Amendment). A criminal complaint is the government laying out some of the evidence, enough to establish probable cause which allows them to arrest and detain the person (see: 4th Amendment). Within 30 days of the initial appearance before the magistate judge, which happened in the hospital room, the governmen has to present the charges to a grand jury, which, if it agrees that there is probable cause, returns an indictment. THAT is the document governing the subsequent trial, unless it is superseded by another grand jury's indictment adding charges.
So no, he has not been formally charged with the felony; only an indictment can do that.
No, the death penalty has not
been sought since: (a) there isn't an indictment yet, see above; (b) the whole process of seeking approval from the AG hasn't concluded yet (if it's even been started), and (c) that is a sentencing issue, and there's been no conviction yet (or indictment, see above). The most that can happen is that the US Attorney, after briefing the issue in a comprehensive document, seeks the AG's permission to file notice to the defendant that the government intends to seek the death penalty in the event of conviction on capital offenses.
Just because it's been mentioned in the news doesn't make it accurate.