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News Link • Death Penalty

PATRIOT Act Extension Bill Would Also Expand Death Penalty Laws

• OpenCongress Blog
Since the mid 90s, federal death penalty statutes have been slowly but steadily expanding to include more and more offenses within their reach. With the committee-amended PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill that’s headed for floor votes in the next few weeks, Congress appears ready to expand the death penalty once again. This time, they’re looking at applying the death penalty to people convicted of providing material support for acts of terrorism that result in deaths. The language was added to the bill during the March 10 mark-up session as an amendment from Judiciary Committee member Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA] (pictured) over opposition from the committee’s chairman, Sen. Pat Leahy [D, VT]. Leahy said that he was not opposed to the amendment on principle, but that he believed it went too far beyond the scope of the underlying legislation. “This is a surveillance bill […] not a criminal code bill,” Leahy argued. Grassley was ultimately able to overcome Leahy’s opposition when Sen. D

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