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Jeff Sessions seems to have forgotten that he promoted state bills, while Alabama’s Attorney General, to establish mandatory death sentences for second drug trafficking offenses, including the dealing of marijuana (State bills: H.B. 242 and S.B. 291).
Well, I’m not sure under what circumstances I said that,” he told the committee after being asked about his past support for these death sentences.
The bill that Sessions supported back in 1996 was to target kingpins,” but the qualifications were a joke. The defendant merely needed to have 5 people working under him and needed to make the minimum wage of $4.25/hour (minimum wage in Alabama in 1996) to qualify for execution.
Despite the support of Jeff Sessions the bill never passed, thank goodness.
At his nomination hearing this week, Sessions has stated that he does not support mandatory executions for drug trafficking. Seeing how mandatory death sentences have been banned by the Supreme Court since 1987, it is a bit troubling that the candidate had ever supported such a policy.
Jeff Sessions has a history of chasing after the death penalty, even when he knew that the people on trial may have been innocent! For example, Sessions knew that during trial, prosecutors had hidden DNA-related evidence from Larry Padgett that pointed to his innocence. Yet Sessions still tried to convince the Alabama Supreme Court to uphold Padgett’s death sentence. Thankfully, Sessions was unable to persuade Alabama’s highest court. Padgett was exonerated at his second trial.
Sessions will be confirmed sooner than later and it is important to be aware of what we are getting for our Attorney General.