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Liberal US justices lean toward death row inmate in mental health dispute

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Liberal U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday indicated support for a convicted murderer held on Alabama’s death row who argued he had a right to an independent medical expert to assess his mental health and potentially help him avoid the death penalty.

The nine justices heard a one-hour argument in an appeal brought by James McWilliams, who was sentenced to death for raping, murdering and robbing a convenience store clerk in Tuscaloosa in 1984.

The case has taken on greater importance in the past week because two Arkansas death row inmates who that state plans to execute, Don Davis and Bruce Ward, had their cases put on holding pending the Supreme Court’s decision in the McWilliams case, due by the end of June.

Based on questions asked by the justices, the four liberals could be joined by conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s frequent swing vote, in favoring McWilliams. The nine-member court’s other conservatives appeared more likely to vote against McWilliams.

At issue in his appeal of his death sentence to the Supreme Court is whether an indigent defendant like McWilliams during a trial in which his mental health is a pivotal matter is entitled to an expert witness independent of the prosecution. Such an independent expert witness possibly could offering mitigating evidence at his sentencing hearing as prosecutors pursue the death penalty.

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(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)


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‘A failure in judgment by every single Republican leader’: Ex-GOP congressman scorches Trump’s racism

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) laid into his erstwhile party for its embrace of President Donald Trump's racial hatred and intolerance, as exemplified by the crowd of Trump rallygoers in Greenville, North Carolina chanting "Send Her Back!" of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

"It was heartbreaking," said Jolly, who renounced the Republican Party and became an independent last year. "In terms of what I felt, it was heartbreak, both last night and then to see the likes of Lindsey Graham [(R-SC)] today suggest that the only problem is Omar doesn’t wear a MAGA hat. If refugees would just wear MAGA hats, they could stay. The others deserve to go."

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The racist Republican Party must be ‘utterly confronted and destroyed’: Chris Hayes

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On Thursday evening, MSNBC's Chris Hayes tore into the Republican Party for accepting and legitimizing the racism of President Donald Trump and his supporters.

"'Send Her Back.' The darkest, ugliest impulses that a political movement can cultivate on full unapologetic display," said Hayes. "That's what Donald Trump has been cultivating all along. Whether the Republican Party likes it or not, it stands for it now. Most of us across the ideological spectrum feel, viscerally, a kind of moral revulsion when we hear and see an angry mob braying 'Send Her Back' about a fellow American. But the reaction from Republicans today was basically a foregone conclusion."

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Trump ‘leads a domestic hate movement’ — and the world is watching in shock: WaPo columnist

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President Donald Trump's racism is shocking the entire globe, Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent wrote in a Thursday column.

"One of the most chilling things about President Trump’s hate-rally in North Carolina — which devolved into chants of “send her back,” directed at a nonwhite immigrant member of Congress — was the profusion of tweets about it from abroad," Sargent reported.

"As the president of the United States leads a domestic hate movement, the world is watching," he explained.

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