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S. 2264: Eric’s Law


The text of the bill below is as of Jul 25, 2019 (Introduced).

Summary of this bill

If only 11 out of 12 jury members vote to impose the death penalty, should a new jury be allowed to convene to potentially reach a unanimous and binding verdict?

Context

Eric Williams, a 34-year-old correctional officer at a Pennsylvania prison, was stabbed and killed with a sharpened weapon by inmate Jessie Con-Ui in February 2013.

Although the jury unanimously found Con-Ui guilty, he was spared the death penalty by the 11–1 vote of a lone holdout, who said she couldn’t force herself to vote for death because her son was in jail.

Prosecutors and the victim’s father had sought the death penalty, and many felt the ...


II

116th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 2264

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 25, 2019

(for himself, Mr. Braun, Mr. Cornyn, Mr. Cotton, and Mr. Cruz) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To amend title 18, United States Code, to require the impaneling of a new jury if a jury fails to recommend by unanimous vote a sentence for conviction of a crime punishable by death.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as Eric’s Law.

2.

Requirement to impanel a new jury in certain cases

(a)

Additional ground for impaneling jury

Section 3593(b)(2) of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (C), by striking or at the end; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(E)

a new special hearing is required pursuant to subsection (g); or

.

(b)

Impaneling of new jury when jury does not reach a unanimous recommendation

Section 3593 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(g)

Special rule when jury does not return a unanimous recommendation

(1)

In general

If a jury described in subsection (b)(1) or subparagraphs (A) through (D) of subsection (b)(2) does not, by unanimous vote, make a recommendation whether the defendant should be sentenced to death, to life imprisonment without possibility of release, or some other lesser sentence pursuant to subsection (e), the court, upon motion of the attorney for the government, shall order a new special hearing and impanel a new jury pursuant to subsection (b).

(2)

Imposition of sentence

If the jury impaneled pursuant to paragraph (1) does not reach a unanimous recommendation as to sentence, the court shall impose a sentence other than death authorized by law.

.