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    On this date, June 10, 1988, a Pedophile Serial Killer, Gary Arthur Bishop was executed by lethal injection in Utah. He was convicted of the murders of five young boys in 1983.


    Gary Arthur Bishop

    Please go to this previous Blog Post to learn more.

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                On this date, 11 June 1951, a Japanese Lieutenant General, Takuma Nishimura was executed by hanging.

     

    Takuma Nishimura (西村琢磨 Nishimura Takuma)
    Takuma Nishimura (西村琢磨Nishimura Takuma, 1 September 1899 – 11 June 1951) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. After the Japanese surrender, he was tried by Britain and later Australia for war crimes. He was executed by Australia. Nishimura was a native of Fukuoka prefecture.

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                On this date, June 11, 1981, a Japanese man, Issei Sagawa, murdered and cannibalized a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt in Paris.

      

    Issei Sagawa (佐川一政Sagawa Issei)

    Issei Sagawa (佐川一政Sagawa Issei, born April 26, 1949) is a Japanese man who in 1981 murdered and cannibalized a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt in Paris. After his release, he became a minor celebrity in Japan and made a living through the public's interest in his crime.

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    On this date, June 11, 2001, Timothy McVeigh A.K.A as the Oklahoma City Bomber was executed by lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was the terrorist who detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Commonly referred to as the Oklahoma City Bombing, the attack killed 168 people and injured over 600. It was the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in United States history.



    Timothy McVeigh


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    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Orlando_nightclub_shooting

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    Lila Rose Quote




    Lila Rose to Donald Trump: You Can’t be Pro-Life and Support Aborting Babies Conceived in Rape
    Opinion  Steven Ertelt   Apr 21, 2016   |   6:12PM    Washington, DC

    Donald Trumps’s support for changing the Republican Party’s platform to support aborting babies conceived in rape or incest is earning him criticism from a leading pro-life advocate.

    As LifeNews.com reported today, Trump said he “absolutely” wants to change the Republican party’s current pro-life platform to promote abortions in cases of rape or incest.

    “Yes I would. Absolutely, for the three exceptions, I would,” he said. Trump was then pressed further and asked if he would make an exception to protect the “health” of the mother. “I would leave it for the life of the mother, but I would absolutely have the three exceptions.”

    Trump’s platform comment is the latest in a long line of comments from Trump upsetting pro-life voters — including multiple remarks praising the Planned Parenthood abortion business, saying abortion laws should not be changed and saying women should be punished for having abortions and flip-flopping hours later.


    But Lila Rose, president and founder of the pro-life organization Live Action, told LifeNews.com she takes issue with Trump on supporting the aborting of babies not conceived lovingly.

    “Rape and incest are horrific injustices, and those who commit these acts should always be punished to the full extent of the law. U.S. law forbids the use of the death penalty as a punishment for rapists, yet current law permits killing the innocent preborn children conceived in rape.  Abortion should not be held up as a pathway to healing from rape or incest, as it doesn’t undo the crime; it just adds more violence to what the survivor has already endured,” Rose explained.

    Rose continued: “If you are pro-life, you can’t say certain lives are less worthy or don’t deserve protection because of how they are conceived.  To say children conceived in rape are somehow less human and shouldn’t be allowed to live is a grave injustice.  Survivors of rape and incest and their children must be shown compassion and be supported by their communities.  While some mothers choose to keep their children, adoption is the option for those who don’t.”

    Over 1000 medical professionals from around the worldhave publicly declared that abortion is never medically necessary to save a mother’s life.  While life-saving medical treatment may result in the death of the child in a mother’s womb, there is a fundamental difference between providing that legitimate treatment and elective abortion,” she concluded.

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  • 06/14/16--13:58: CARDINAL ROBERT SARAH
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    On this date, June 15, 2007, Cop Killer, Michael Allen Lambert was executed by lethal injection in Indiana for the December 28, 1990 murder of Officer Gregg Winters. The officer died 11 days later on January 8, 1991. Let us honor this fallen policeman and thank God that justice was served.

     

    Michael Allen Lambert
     

    Officer Gregg William Winters
    Please go to this previous Blog Post to learn more and go to Unit 1012 blog post to hear from the slain cop’s loved ones.


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                On this date, June 16, 1944, At age 14, George Junius Stinney, Jr. becomes the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century. I will post information about this Juvenile Killer from Wikipedia and other links.



    George Stinney


    George Stinney mugshot, 1944
    Born
    George Junius Stinney, Jr.
    October 21, 1929
    Pinewood, South Carolina, United States
    Died
    June 16, 1944 (aged 14)
    Columbia, South Carolina, United States
    Criminal penalty
    Death by electric chair
    Criminal status
    • Executed (1944)
    • Conviction vacated (2014)

    Conviction(s)
    First-degree murder (vacated)


    George Junius Stinney Jr. (October 21, 1929 – June 16, 1944), an African-American, age 14, was convicted at a flawed trial of murder in 1944 in his home town of Alcolu, South Carolina. He was the youngest person in the United States in the 20th-century to be sentenced to death and to be executed.

    Stinney was convicted in 1944 in a one-day trial of the first-degree murder of two whitegirls: 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 8-year-old Mary Emma Thames. After being arrested, Stinney was said to have confessed to the crime. There was no written record of his confession apart from notes provided by an investigating deputy, and no transcript of the brief trial. He was executed by electric chair.

    Since Stinney's conviction and execution, the question of his guilt, the validity of his reported confession, and the judicial process leading to his execution have been extensively criticized.

    A group of lawyers and activists investigated the Stinney case on behalf of his family. In 2013 the family petitioned for a new trial. On December 17, 2014, his conviction was posthumously vacated70 years after his execution, because the circuit court judge ruled that he had not been given a fair trial; he had no effective defense and his Sixth Amendmentrights had been violated. The judgment noted that while Stinney may in fact have committed the crime, the prosecution and trial were fundamentally flawed.

      

    Betty June Binnicker, 11, was murdered along with her friend, Mary Emma Thames, 8. Both had received major blows to the head. Stinney was charged with the crimes.
    Case background

    In 1944 George Junius Stinney, Jr. lived in Alcolu, Clarendon County, South Carolina. The 14-year-old African-American boy lived with his father, George Stinney, Sr., mother Aime, brother Charles, age 12, and sisters Katherine, age 10, and Aime, age 7, and a stepbrother, Johnny. George Sr. worked at the town's sawmill, and the family lived in housing provided by George Sr.'s employer. Alcolu was a small, working-class mill town, where white and black neighborhoods were separated by railroad tracks. The town was typical of small Southern towns of the time, with separate schools and churches for white and black residents, who rarely interacted.

    The bodies of Betty June Binnicker, age 11, and Mary Emma Thames, age 8, were found in a ditch on the black side of Alcolu on March 23, 1944. They had been beaten with an improvised weapon variously reported as a piece of blunt metal or a railroad spike. The girls were last seen riding their bicycles looking for flowers. As they passed the Stinney property, they asked young George Stinney and his sister, Aime, if they knew where to find "maypops", a local name for passionflowers. According to Aime she was with George at the time of the murders.

    When the girls did not return home, search parties were organized. George's father was among the searchers. The bodies of the girls were found the next morning, on the black side of town, in a ditch filled with muddy water. According to an article reported by the wire services on March 24, 1944, and published widely, with the mistake of the boy's name preserved, the sheriff announced the arrest and said that "George Junius" had confessed and led officers to "a hidden piece of iron." Both girls had suffered blunt force trauma to the face and head. Reports differed as to what kind of weapon had been used. According to a report by the medical examiner, these wounds had been "inflicted by a blunt instrument with a round head, about the size of a hammer." Both girls' skulls were punctured. The girls had not been sexually assaulted and their hymens were intact. The medical examiner reported the genitalia of the older girl were slightly bruised.

    Investigation

    George Stinney was arrested on suspicion of murdering the girls along with his older stepbrother Johnny. Johnny was released, George was held and not allowed to see his parents until after his trial and conviction. According to a handwritten statement, the arresting officer was H.S. Newman, a Clarendon County deputy, who stated "I arrested a boy by the name of George Stinney. He then made a confession and told me where to find a piece of iron about 15 inches were [sic] he said he put it in a ditch about six feet from the bicycle." No confession statement signed by Stinney is known to exist.

    George was reported to have gotten into fights at school, including a fight where he scratched a girl with a knife. This assertion by Stinney's seventh-grade teacher, who was black, was disputed by Aime Stinney Ruffner when it was reported in 1995. A local white woman who remembered Stinney from childhood said Stinney had threatened to kill her and her friend the day before the murder, and that he was known as a bully.

    Following George's arrest, his father was fired from his job at the local sawmill, and the Stinney family had to immediately vacate the housing provided by Stinney Sr's employer. The family feared for their safety. His parents did not see George again before the trial. He had no support during his 81-day confinement and trial; he was kept at a jail in Columbia 50 miles from town because of the risk of lynching. Stinney was questioned alone, without his parents or an attorney. Although the Sixth Amendmentguarantees legal counsel, it was not until 1963 that Gideon v. Wainwright explicitly required representation through the course of criminal proceedings.

    Trial

    The entire proceeding against Stinney, including jury selection, took one day. Stinney's court-appointed defense counsel was Charles Plowden, a tax commissioner campaigning for election to local political office. Plowden did not challenge the three police officers who testified that Stinney confessed to the two murders, despite this being the only evidence against him, and despite the prosecution's presentation of two different versions of Stinney's verbal confession. In one version Stinney was attacked by the girls after he tried to help one girl who had fallen in the ditch and he killed them in self defense. In the other version he had followed the girls, first attacking Mary Emma and then Betty June. There was no physical evidence linking him to the murders. There is no written record of Stinney's confession apart from Deputy Newman's statement.

    Stinney's trial had an all-white jury. More than 1,000 people crowded the courtroom but no blacks were allowed. Other than the testimony of the three police officers, at trial prosecutors called three witnesses: Reverend Francis Batson, who discovered the bodies of the two girls, and the two doctors who performed the post-mortem examination. Conflicting confessions were reported to have been offered by the prosecution. The court allowed discussion of the "possibility" of rape despite an absence of evidence in the medical examiner's report. Stinney's counsel did not call any witnesses, did not cross-examine witnesses and offered little or no defense. Trial presentation lasted two and a half hours. The jury took ten minutes to deliberate, after which they returned with a guilty verdict. The judge sentenced Stinney to death by the electric chair. There is no transcript of the trial. No appeal was filed.

    Stinney's family, churches and the NAACP appealed to Governor Olin Johnston for clemency, given the age of the boy. Others urged the governor to let the execution proceed, which he did. Johnston stated in a response to one appeal for clemency that "It may be interesting for you to know that Stinney killed the smaller girl to rape the larger one. Then he killed the larger girl and raped her dead body. Twenty minutes later he returned and attempted to rape her again, but her body was too cold. All of this he admitted himself."

    These assertions were not supported by the medical examiner's report.

    Between the time of Stinney's arrest and his execution, Stinney's parents were allowed to see him once, after the trial in the Columbia penitentiary.

    Execution

    The execution of George Stinney was carried out at the Central Correctional Institutionin Columbia on June 16, 1944, at 7:30 p.m. Standing 5 feet 1 inch (155 cm) tall and weighing just over 90 pounds (40 kg), Stinney was so small compared to the usual adult prisoners that law officers had difficulty securing him to the frame holding the electrodes. The state's adult-sized face-mask did not fit him; as he was hit with the first 2,400 V surge of electricity, the mask covering his face slipped off. Stinney was declared dead within four minutes of the initial electrocution. From the time of the murders until Stinney's execution, 83 days had passed.

    Reopening of case

    In 2004, George Frierson, a local historian who grew up in Alcolu, started researching the case after reading a newspaper article about it. His work gained the attention of South Carolina lawyers Steve McKenzie and Matt Burgess. In addition, Ray Brown, attorney James Moon, and others contributed countless hours of research and review of historical documents, in finding witnesses and evidence to assist in exonerating young Stinney. Among those who aided the case were the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ) at Northeastern University School of Law, who filed an amicus brief with the court in 2014. Frierson and the pro bono lawyers first sought relief through the Pardon and Parole Board of South Carolina.

    McKenzie and Burgess, along with lawyer Ray Chandler representing Stinney's family, filed a motion for a new trial on October 25, 2013.


    If we can get the case re-opened, we can go to the judge and say, 'There wasn't any reason to convict this child. There was no evidence to present to the jury. There was no transcript. This case needs to be re-opened. This is an injustice that needs to be righted.' I'm pretty optimistic that if we can get the witnesses we need to come forward, we will be successful in court. We hopefully have a witness that's going to say — that's non-family, non-relative witness — who is going to be able to tie all this in and say that they were basically an alibi witness. They were there with Mr. Stinney and this did not occur.

    — Steve McKenzie


    George Frierson stated in interviews, "there has been a person that has been named as being the culprit, who is now deceased. And it was said by the family that there was a deathbed confession." Frierson said that the rumored culprit came from a well-known, prominent white family. A member, or members of that family, had served on the initial coroner's inquest jury which had recommended that Stinney be prosecuted.

    In its amicus brief, the CRRJ said:


    There is compelling evidence that George Stinney was innocent of the crimes for which he was executed in 1944. The prosecutor relied, almost exclusively, on one piece of evidence to obtain a conviction in this capital case: the unrecorded, unsigned “confession” of a 14-year-old child who was deprived of counsel and parental guidance, and whose defense lawyer shockingly failed to call exculpating witnesses or to preserve his right of appeal.


    New evidence in the court hearing in January 2014 included testimony by Stinney's siblings that he was with them at the time of the murders. In addition, an affidavit was introduced from the "Reverend Francis Batson, who found the girls and pulled them from the water-filled ditch. In his statement he recalls there was not much blood in or around the ditch, suggesting that they may have been killed elsewhere and moved." Wilford "Johnny" Hunter, who was in prison with Stinney, "testified that the teenager told him he had been made to confess" and always maintained his innocence.

    Rather than approving a new trial, on December 17, 2014, circuit court Judge Carmen Mullen vacatedStinney's conviction. She ruled that he had not received a fair trial, as he was not effectively defended and his Sixth Amendmentright had been violated. The ruling was a rare use of the legal principle of coram nobis. Judge Mullen ruled that his confession was likely coerced and thus inadmissible. She also found that the execution of a 14-year-old constituted "cruel and unusual punishment." Mullen confined her judgment to the process of the prosecution, noting that Stinney "may well have committed this crime." With reference to the legal process Mullen wrote "No one can justify a 14-year-old child charged, tried, convicted and executed in some 80 days," concluding that "In essence, not much was done for this child when his life lay in the balance."

    Family members of both Betty Binnicker and Mary Thames expressed disappointment at the ruling. They said that, although they acknowledge his execution at the age of 14 is controversial, they never doubted his guilt. The niece of Betty Binnicker has said she and her family have extensively researched the case, and argues that "people who [just] read these articles in the newspaper don't know the truth." Binnicker's niece said that, in the early 1990s, a police officer who had arrested Stinney had contacted her and said: "Don't you ever believe that boy didn't kill your aunt." These family members said that the claims of a deathbed confession from an individual confessing to the girls' murders have never been substantiated.

    The solicitor for the state of South Carolina, who argued for the state against exoneration, was Ernest A. Finney III. He is the son of Ernest A. Finney, Jr., appointed as South Carolina's first African-American State Supreme Court justice since Reconstruction.

    Books and films about Stinney's case

    David Stout based his first novel Carolina Skeletons (1988) on this case. He was awarded the 1989 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel. Stout suggests in the novel that Stinney, whom he renames Linus Bragg, was innocent. The plot revolves around a fictitious nephew of Stinney/Bragg, who unravels the truth about the case decades later.

    The novel was adapted as a 1991 television movie of the same name directed by John Erman, featuring Kenny Blank as Stinney/Bragg. Lou Gossett, Jr. played Stinney's/Bragg's younger brother James.

    As of February 2014, another movie about the Stinney case, 83 Days, was planned by Pleroma Studios, written and produced by Ray Brown with Charles Burnett as director.

    OTHER LINKS:


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                On this date, June 16, 2011, an Aryan Brotherhood & Prison Killer, Lee Andrew Taylor was executed by lethal injection in Texas. He was convicted of the April 1, 1999 murder of his African American cellmate, Donta Green. Before the prison killing, he had already caused the death of an elderly man in a robbery on November 17, 1995. He is an example of a white man killing an African American, where we can debunk the myth that only killers of white victims get executed.

      

    Lee Andrew Taylor
     
    Please go to the previous Blog Post to learn more.

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                Tsutomu Miyazaki was one of the worst of the worst pedophile serial killers I had ever read about. After observing and analyzing his character, I got reminded of The Joker in the Batman movie, ‘The Dark Knight (2008)’. The Joker in that movie was described as "psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy." Otaku (おたく/オタク) is a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly (but not limited to) anime and manga. Tsutomu Miyazaki was called the Otaku Murderer, but I nicknamed him the ‘Japanese Joker’. I described Miyazaki as “psychopathic, satanic, obsessive, disobedient, perverted, pedophilia serial killer with 100% pornography fixation.” 



    The Joker (Left) and Tsutomu Miyazaki (Right)
                Please read Part 1& Part 2of the case before reading my opinionon him.

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    On this date, June 17, 2015, Nine people are killed in a mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. I will post information about the suspected perpetrator, Dylann Roof from Wikipedia.
      
    Dylann Roof


    Mugshot taken of Dylann Roof, taken following his capture and extradition.

    Born
    Dylann Storm Roof
    April 3, 1994 (age 22)
    Columbia, South Carolina, United States
    Occupation
    Former landscaper
    Known for
    Criminal charge
    Nine counts of murder
    Three counts of attempted murder
    Possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime
    Criminal status
    In jail and awaiting trial
    Parent(s)
    Franklin Bennett (father)
    Amelia Cowles (mother)
    Paige Mann (stepmother)

    Dylann Storm Roof (born April 3, 1994) is an American suspected of perpetrating the June 17, 2015 Charleston church shooting. During a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Roof is alleged to have killed nine African Americans, including senior pastorand state senatorClementa C. Pinckney, and injured one other person. After several people identified Roof as the main suspect, he became the center of a manhunt that ended the morning after the shooting with his arrest in Shelby, North Carolina. He later confessed that he committed the shooting in hopes of igniting a race war.

    Three days after the shooting, a website titled The Last Rhodesian was discovered and later confirmed by officials to be owned by Roof. The website contained photos of Roof posing with symbols of white supremacy and neo-Nazism, along with a manifesto in which he outlined his views towards blacks, among other peoples. He also claimed in the manifesto to have developed his white supremacist views following research on the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin and "black-on-white crime".

    Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He also faces federal hate crime charges, for which he faces the death penalty. His trial in state court will start on January 17, 2017.

    1Personal background

    Dylann Roof was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to Franklin Bennett (called Bennett) Roof, a carpenter, and Amelia "Amy" Cowles, a bartender. Both were divorced but temporarily reconciled at the time of his birth. When Roof was five, his father married Paige Mann (née Hastings) in November 1999, but they divorced after ten years of marriage. Bennett Roof was allegedly verbally and physically abusive towards Mann. The family mostly lived in South Carolina, though from about 2005 to 2008, they temporarily moved to the Florida Keys. There is no information about Roof attending local schools there.

    According to a 2009 affidavitfiled for Mann's divorce, Roof exhibited signs of obsessive–compulsive disorder as he grew up, obsessing over germs and insisting on having his hair cut in a certain style. When he was in middle school, he exhibited an interest in smoking marijuana, having once been caught spending money on it.

    In nine years, Roof attended at least seven schools in two South Carolina counties, including White Knoll High School in Lexington, in which he repeated the ninth grade, finishing it in another school. He apparently stopped attending classes in 2010 and, according to his family, dropped out of school and spent his time alternating between playing video games and taking drugs, such as Suboxone. He was on the rolls of a local Lutheran congregation.

    Prior to the attack, Roof was living alternately in Bennett's and Cowles' homes in downtown Columbia and Hopkins, respectively, but was mostly raised by his stepmother Mann. In the past several weeks preceding the attack, Roof had also been occasionally living in the home of an old friend from middle school and the latter's mother, two brothers, and girlfriend. He allegedly spent his time using drugs and getting drunk. He had been working as a landscaper at the behest of his father, but quit the job prior to the shooting.

    His maternal uncle, Carson Cowles, said that he expressed concern about the social withdrawal of his then-nineteen-year-old nephew, because "he still didn't have a job, a driver's license or anything like that and he just stayed in his room a lot of the time." Cowles said he tried to mentor Roof, but was rejected and they drifted apart. According to Mann, Roof cut off all contact with her after her divorce from his father. When his sister planned to be married, he did not respond to her invitation to the event.

    A former high school classmate said that despite Roof's racist comments, some of his friends in school were black.

    1.1Earlier contacts with police

    Roof had a prior police record consisting of two arrests, both made in the months preceding the attack. On March 2, 2015, he was questioned about a February 28 incident at the Columbiana Centre in Columbia, in which he entered the mall wearing all-black clothing and asked employees unsettling questions. During the questioning, authorities found a bottle of what was later admitted to be Suboxone, a narcotic used either for treating opiate addictions or as a recreational drug; Roof was arrested for a misdemeanor charge of drug possession. He was subsequently banned from the Columbiana Centre for a year. After he was arrested again on April 26 for trespassing on the mall grounds, the ban was extended for three additional years.

    According to James Comey, Roof's March arrest was written as a felony, which would have required an inquiry into the charge during a background check examination. However, it was legally a misdemeanor charge and was incorrectly written as a felony at first due to a data entry error made by a jail clerk. Despite this, Roof would not have been able to legally purchase firearms under a law that barred "unlawful user[s] of or addicted to any controlled substance" from owning firearms.

    On March 13, 2015, Roof was investigated for loitering in his parked car near a park in downtown Columbia. He had been recognized by an off-duty police officer who investigated his March 2 questioning; the officer then called a colleague to investigate. A police officer conducted a search of his vehicle and found a forearm grip for an AR-15semiautomatic rifle and six unloaded magazines, all capable of holding 40 rounds. When asked about it, Roof informed the officer that he wanted to purchase an AR-15, but did not have enough money to do so. He was not charged, as it was not illegal in South Carolina to possess a firearm grip.

    2Charleston church shooting


    On the evening of June 17, 2015, a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States. During a routine Bible study at the church, a white man about 21 years old, later identified as Roof, opened fire with a handgun, killing nine people. Roof was unemployed and living in largely African-American Eastover at the time of the attack.

    2.1Suspected motivation

    According to a childhood friend, Roof went on a rant about the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the 2015 Baltimore protests that were sparked by the death of Freddie Gray while Gray was in police custody. He also often claimed that "blacks were taking over the world". Roof reportedly told friends and neighbors of his plans to kill people, including a plot to attack the College of Charleston, but his claims were not taken seriously.

    One image from his Facebookpage showed him wearing a jacket decorated with two obsolete flags used as emblems among American white supremacist movements, those of Rhodesia(present-day Zimbabwe) and apartheid-eraSouth Africa. Another online photo showed Roof sitting on the hood of his car with an ornamental license plate with a Confederate flag on it. According to his roommate, Roof expressed his support of racial segregation in the United States and had intended to start a civil war.

    One of the friends who briefly hid Roof's gun away from him said, "I don't think the church was his primary target because he told us he was going for the school. But I think he couldn't get into the school because of the security ... so I think he just settled for the church."An African-American friend of his said that he never witnessed Roof expressing any racial prejudice, but also said that a week before the shooting, Roof had confided in him that he would commit a shooting at the college.

    2.1.1Website and manifesto

    On June 20, a website that had been registered to a "Dylann Roof" on February 9, 2015, lastrhodesian.com was discovered. Though the identity of the domain's owner was intentionally masked the day after it was registered, law enforcement officials confirmed Roof as the owner. The site included a cache of photos of Roof posing with a handgun and a Confederate Battle Flag, as well as with the widely-recognized Nazi code numbers 88 (an abbreviation for the salute "Heil Hitler!") and 1488, written in sand. Roof was also seen spitting on and burning an American flag. While some photographs seemed to show Roof at home in his room, others were taken on an apparent tour of slavery-related North and South Carolina historical sites, including Sullivan's Island, the largest slave disembarkation port in North America, four former plantations, two cemeteries (one for white Confederate soldiers, the other for slaves), and the Museum and Library of Confederate History in Greenville. Roof is believed to have taken self-portraits using a timer, and his visits were not remembered by staff members working at the sites.

    The website also contained an unsigned, 2,444-word manifesto apparently authored by Roof, in which he outlined his opinions, all methodically broken into the following sections: "Blacks", "Jews", "Hispanics", "East Asians", "Patriotism", and "An Explanation":


    I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.


    The manifesto states that its author was "truly awakened" by coverage of the shooting of Trayvon Martin:


    I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words "black on White crime" into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?


    The manifesto also mentioned as another source of influence the Northwest Front, a Seattle-based white supremacist organization infamous for its participation in the 1979 Greensboro massacre.

    According to web server logs, Roof's website was last modified at 4:44 p.m. on June 17, when Roof noted, "[A]t the time of writing I am in a great hurry."

    2.2Weapon purchase and FBI lapse

    Roof personally purchased the gun used in the shooting from a retail gun store in Charleston, using money given to him on his birthday. The Washington Post reported on July 10, 2015, that FBI DirectorJames Comey said that Roof "was able to purchase the gun used in the attack only because of lapses in the FBI's background-check system".

    One week prior to the shooting, two of his friends tried to hide the gun after Roof claimed he was going to kill people. However, they returned it to him after the girlfriend of one of the friends, whose trailer they hid the gun in, pointed out he was on probation and needed to have the gun out of his possession.

    2.3Prior to the shooting

    FBI analysis of Roof's seized cellphone and computer found that he was in online communication with other white supremacists, according to unnamed officials. Although Roof's contacts did not appear to have encouraged the massacre, the investigation was said to have widened to also include other persons of interest.


    2.4Reaction by white supremacists

    Although the Council of Conservative Citizens took down its website on June 20 in the immediate wake of negative publicity, its president, Earl Holt, stated that the organization was "hardly responsible" for Roof's actions. However, the organization also issued a statement saying that Roof had some "legitimate grievances" against black people and that the group's website "accurately and honestly report[s] black-on-white violent crime". Harold Covington, the founder of the Northwest Front, also condemned Roof's actions, but called the attack "a preview of coming attractions".

    Through analysis of his manifesto, the Southern Poverty Law Center alleged that Roof was a reader and commenter on The Daily Stormer, a white nationalist news website. Its editor Andrew Anglin "repudiated Roof's crime and publicly disavowed violence, while endorsing many of Roof's views." He claimed that while he would have sympathy with a white man shooting criminals, killing innocents including elderly women was "a completely insane act".

    3Manhunt and capture

    The attack was treated as a hate crime by police, and officials from the FBI were called in to assist in the investigation and manhunt.

    At 10:44 a.m., on the morning after the attack, Roof was captured in a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina, approximately 245 miles (394 km) from the shooting scene. A .45-caliber pistol was found in the car during the arrest, though it was not immediately clear if it was the same one used in the attack. Police received a tip-off from a driver, Debbie Dills, from Gastonia, North Carolina. She recognized Roof driving his car, a black Hyundai Elantra with South Carolina license plates and a three-flag "Confederate States of America" bumper decoration, on U.S. Route 74, recalling security camera images taken at the church and distributed to the media. She later recalled, "I got closer and saw that haircut. I was nervous. I had the worst feeling. Is that him or not him?" She called her employer, who contacted local police, and then tailed the suspect's car for 35 miles (56 km) until she was certain authorities were moving in for an arrest.

    His older half-sister also reported him to the police after seeing his photo on the news.

    Roof was arrested and was interrogated by the FBI. He stated that he had been traveling to Nashville, Tennessee, when he was arrested in Shelby. Police in Shelby deferred his questioning to the FBI. An unidentified source said interrogations with Roof after his arrest determined he had been planning the attack for around six months, researched Emanuel AME Church, and targeted it because of its role in African-American history.

    4Legal proceedings

    4.1Pre-trial court proceedings

    Roof waived his extradition rights and was flown to Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston on the evening of June 18. At the jail, his cell-block neighbor was Michael Slager, the former North Charleston officer charged with first-degree murder in the wake of his shooting of Walter Scott. Roof confessed to committing the Charleston attack with the intention of starting a race war, and reportedly told investigators he almost did not go through with his mission because members of the church study group had been so nice to him.

    On June 19, Roof was charged with nine counts of murder and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. He first appeared in Charleston County court by video conference at a bond hearing later that day. At the hearing, shooting survivors and relatives of five of the victims spoke to Roof directly, saying that they were "praying for his soul" and forgave him. Governor Nikki Haley has called for prosecutors to seek the death penalty for Roof.

    The judge, Charleston County chief magistrate James "Skip" Gosnell, Jr., caused controversy at the bond hearing with his statement that, alongside the dead victims and their families, "there are victims on this young man's side of the family […] Nobody would have ever thrown them into the whirlwind of events that they are being thrown into." Gosnell then set a $1 million bond for the weapons possession charge and no bail on the nine counts of murder.

    On July 7, Roof was indicted on three new charges of attempted murder, one for each person who survived the shooting. A temporary gag orderwas issued by a judge on July 14 following the appearance of a letter purportedly written by Roof on an online auction site. Seven groups, including news media outlets, families of the slain victims, and church officials, called for easing some restrictions placed by the gag order, particularly 9-1-1 calls. Portions of the gag order were lifted on October 14, allowing for the release of 9-1-1 call transcripts and other documents, but the order remained in place for graphic crime scene photos and videos, as well as audio for the 9-1-1 calls.

    4.2State trial

    On July 16, Roof's trial in state court was scheduled by Circuit Court Judge J.C. Nicholson to start on July 11, 2016. On July 20, Roof was ordered to provide handwriting samples to investigators. The order explained that following his arrest in Shelby, notes and lists were found written on his hand and at other locations; that the handwriting samples were needed to determine if the handwriting matched.

    On September 3, state prosecutor Scarlett Wilson said that she intended to seek the death penalty for Roof because more than two people were killed in the shooting and others' lives were put at risk.

    On September 16, Roof said through his attorney that he was willing to plead guilty to the state charges in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole.

    Roof reappeared in state court on October 23, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. and is scheduled to reappear on February 5, 2016, at 9:00 a.m., before Nicholson.

    Jury selection for the state trial will start on June 28, 2016. The state trial will begin on January 17, 2017.

    4.3Federal trial

    On July 22, it was announced that Roof will face a total of 33 federal charges. They include nine counts of using a firearm to commit murder and 24 civil rights violations (12 hate crimecharges and 12 counts of violating a person's freedom of religion), with 18 of the charges carrying the federal death penalty.

    Roof reappeared in court on July 31, after a hearing scheduled for July 27 was delayed. He pleaded not guilty to the federal charges against him at the behest of his lawyer David Bruck. Roof wanted to plead guilty, but Bruck stated he was not willing to advise a guilty plea until the government indicated whether it wanted to seek the death penalty. Roof's attorneys filed motions in federal court seeking access to his statements to police, physical evidence, and summaries of people expected to testify.

    On October 1, the trial was pushed back to at least January 2016 to give prosecutors and Roof's attorneys more time to prepare. On December 1, the trial was postponed again to an unknown date. He reappeared in federal court on February 11, 2016.

    On June 9, 2016, Roof, through his lawyers, announced that he did not want to be tried by a jury. If the request was granted, the judge presiding over his case would hear it out by himself in its entirety. If convicted, the decision to sentence Roof to death is also solely the judge's responsibility. Jury selection for the federal trial is scheduled to begin on November 7, 2016.


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    On this date, June 17, 2015, Nine people are killed in a mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. I will post information about the mass shooting from Wikipedia.


    Charleston church shooting

    Location
    Date
    June 17, 2015
    c. 9:05 p.m. – c. 9:11 p.m. (EDT)
    Target
    African American churchgoers
    Attack type
    Weapons
    Deaths
    9
    Non-fatal injuries
    1
    Suspected perpetrator
    Dylann Roof
    Motive


    The Charleston church shooting (also known as the Charleston church massacre) was a mass shooting that took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States, on the evening of June 17, 2015. During a prayer service, nine people were killed by a gunman, including the senior pastor, state senatorClementa C. Pinckney; a tenth victim survived. The morning after the attack, police arrested a suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, in Shelby, North Carolina. Roof later confessed that he committed the shooting in hopes of igniting a race war.

    The United States Department of Justiceinvestigated whether the shooting was a hate crimeor an act of domestic terrorism, eventually indicting Roof on 33 federal hate crime charges. Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is one of the United States' oldest black churches and has long been a site for community organization around civil rights. Roof is to be indicted on federal hate crime charges, and has been charged with nine counts of murder by the State of South Carolina. If convicted, he could face a sentence of death or thirty years to life in prison. A website apparently published by Roof included a manifestodetailing his beliefs on race, as well as several photographs showing him posing with emblems associated with white supremacy. Roof's photos of the Confederate battle flag triggered debate on its modern display.

    Background

    The 200-year-old church has played an important role in the history of South Carolina, including the slavery era, the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, and the Black Lives Mattermovement in the 2010s. The church was founded in 1816 and it is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church in the South, often referred to as "Mother Emanuel". It is the oldest historically black congregation south of Baltimore. When one of the church's co-founders, Denmark Vesey, was suspected of planning a slave rebellion in Charleston in 1822, 35 people, including Vesey, were hanged and the church was burned down. Charleston citizens accepted the claim that a slave rebellion was to begin at the stroke of midnight on June 16, 1822, and to erupt the following day; the shooting in 2015 occurred on the 193rd anniversary of the thwarted uprising. The rebuilt church was formally shuttered with other all-black congregations by the city in 1834, meeting in secret until 1865 when it was formally reorganized, acquired the name Emanuel ("God with us"), and rebuilt upon a design by Denmark Vesey's son. That structure was badly damaged in the 1886 Charleston earthquake. The current building dates from 1891.

    The church's senior pastor, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, had held rallies after the shooting of Walter Scott by a white police officer on April 4, 2015, in nearby North Charleston, and as a state senator, he pushed for legislation requiring police to wear body cameras. Several observers noted a similarity between the massacre at Emanuel AME and the 1963 bombing of a politically active African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama, where the Ku Klux Klan(KKK) killed four black girls and injured fourteen others, an attack that galvanized the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

    A number of scholars, journalists, activists and politicians have emphasized the need to understand the attack in the broader context of racism in the United States, rather than seeing it as an isolated event of racially motivated violence. In 1996, Congress passed the Church Arson Prevention Act, making it a federal crime to damage religious property because of its "racial or ethnic character", in response to a spate of 154 suspicious church burnings since 1991. More recent arson attacks against black churches included a black church in Massachusetts that was burned down the day after President Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009.

    Shooting

    At around 9:05 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, the Charleston Police Departmentbegan receiving calls of a shooting at Emanuel AME Church. A man described as white, with sandy-blond hair, around 21 years old and 5 feet 9 inches (175 cm) in height, wearing a gray sweatshirt and jeans, opened fire with a Glock 41.45-caliberhandgun on a group of people inside the church at a Bible study attended by Pinckney. The shooter then fled the scene. He had been carrying eight magazines holding hollow-point bullets. This was the largest mass shooting at an American place of worship, alongside a 1991 attack at a Buddhisttemple in Waddell, Arizona.

    During the hour preceding the attack, 13 people including the shooter participated in the Bible study. According to the accounts of people who talked to survivors, the shooter asked for Pinckney and sat down next to him, initially listening to others during the study. He started to disagree when they began discussing Scripture. Eventually, after waiting for the other participants to begin praying, he stood up and pulled a gun from a fanny pack, aiming it at 87-year-old Susie Jackson. Jackson's nephew, 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders, tried to talk him down and asked him why he was attacking churchgoers. The shooter responded, "I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go." When he expressed his intention to shoot everyone, Sanders dove in front of Jackson and was shot first. The suspect then shot the other victims, all the while shouting racial epithets. He also reportedly said, "Y'all want something to pray about? I'll give you something to pray about." He reloaded his gun five times. Sanders' mother and his five-year-old niece, both attending the study, survived the shooting by pretending to be dead.

    Dot Scott, president of the local branch of the NAACP, said she had heard from victims' relatives that the shooter spared one woman (Sanders' mother) so she could, according to him, tell other people what happened. He asked her, "Did I shoot you?" She replied, "No." Then, he said, "Good, 'cause we need someone to survive, because I'm gonna shoot myself, and you'll be the only survivor." According to the son of one of the victims, who spoke to that survivor, the shooter allegedly turned the gun to his own head and pulled the trigger, but only then discovered he was out of ammunition. Before leaving the church, he reportedly "uttered a racially inflammatory statement" over the victims' bodies. The entire shooting lasted for approximately six minutes.

    Several hours later, a bomb threat was called into the Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Calhoun Street, complicating the investigation and prompting an evacuation of the immediate area.

      
    Nine victims of the Charleston church shooting. Top row: Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton Middle row: Daniel Simmons, Rev. Depayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders Bottom row: Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie JacksonVia Facebook and Getty Images


    Victims

    The dead, six women and three men, were all MethodistAfrican Americans. Eight died at the scene; the ninth, Daniel Simmons, died at MUSC Medical Center. They were all killed by multiple gunshots fired at close range. One unidentified person was wounded but survived. Five individuals survived the shooting unharmed, including Felicia Sanders, mother of slain victim Tywanza Sanders, and her five-year-old granddaughter, along with Polly Sheppard, a Bible study member. Pinckney's wife and daughter were also inside the building during the shooting. Those killed were identified as:
    • Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54) – Bible study member and manager for the Charleston County Public Library system; sister of Malcolm Graham.
    • Susie Jackson (87) – a Bible study and church choir member.
    • Ethel Lee Lance (70) – the church's sexton.
    • Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49) – a pastor who was also employed as a school administrator and admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University.
    • Clementa C. Pinckney (41) – the church's pastor and a South Carolina state senator.
    • Tywanza Sanders (26) – a Bible study member; grandnephew of Susie Jackson.
    • Daniel Simmons (74) – a pastor who also served at Greater Zion AME Church in Awendaw.
    • Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45) – a pastor; also a speech therapist and track coach at Goose Creek High School.
    • Myra Thompson (59) – a Bible study teacher.
    Mugshot taken of Dylann Roof, taken following his capture and extradition.

    Dylann Storm Roof (born April 3, 1994) is an American suspected of perpetrating the June 17, 2015 Charleston church shooting. During a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Roof is alleged to have killed nine African Americans, including senior pastor and state senatorClementa C. Pinckney, and injured one other person. After several people identified Roof as the main suspect, he became the center of a manhunt that ended the morning after the shooting with his arrest in Shelby, North Carolina. He later confessed that he committed the shooting in hopes of igniting a race war.
    Three days after the shooting, a website titled The Last Rhodesian was discovered and later confirmed by officials to be owned by Roof. The website contained photos of Roof posing with symbols of white supremacy and neo-Nazism, along with a manifesto in which he outlined his views towards blacks, among other peoples. He also claimed in the manifesto to have developed his white supremacist views following research on the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin and "black-on-white crime".
    Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He also faces federal hate crimecharges, for which he faces the death penalty. His trial in state court will start on January 17, 2017.
    Suspect

    Dylann Storm Roof was named by the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) as the suspected killer after his father and uncle contacted police to positively identify him upon seeing security photos of him in the news. Roof was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and was living in largely African-American Eastover at the time of the attack. Roof had a prior police record consisting of two arrests, both made in the months preceding the attack. According to FBI DirectorJames Comey, a police report detailing Roof's admission to a narcotics offense should have prevented him from purchasing the weapon used in the shooting, but an administrative error within the National Instant Criminal Background Check System kept Roof's admission (though not the arrest itself) from appearing on his mandatory background check.

    One image from his Facebookpage depicts Roof wearing a jacket decorated with two emblems that are popular among American white supremacists: the flags of the former Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe) and apartheid-era South Africa. Roof reportedly told friends and neighbors of his plans to kill people, including a plot to attack the College of Charleston, but his claims were not taken seriously. On June 20, a website was discovered called The Last Rhodesian (www.lastrhodesian.com); it had been registered to a "Dylann Roof" on February 9, 2015. The website included what appeared to be an unsigned manifesto containing Roof's opinions of "Blacks", "Jews", "Hispanics" and "East Asians", as well a cache of photos, including an image of Roof posing with a handgun and a Confederate Battle Flag. In this manifesto, Roof says he became "racially aware" as a result of the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin, writing that because he kept hearing people talk about the incident, he "decided to look him up" and read the Wikipedia article about it. He concluded that George Zimmerman had been in the right, and he was unable to comprehend why the case had gained national attention. He then searched for "black on White [sic] crime" on Google and found the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens, where he read "pages upon pages" of cases involving black people murdering white people. Roof then writes he has "never been the same since that day".

    According to web server logs, Roof's website was last modified at 4:44 p.m. on June 17, the day of the shooting, when Roof noted, "[A]t the time of writing I am in a great hurry."

    An unidentified source said interrogations with Roof after his arrest determined he had been planning the attack for around six months, researched Emanuel AME Church, and targeted it because of its role in African-American history. One of the friends who briefly hid Roof's gun from him said, "I don't think the church was his primary target because he told us he was going for the school. But I think he couldn't get into the school because of the security ... so I think he just settled for the church."

    Roof's cellphone and computer were seized and subjected to FBI analysis. According to unnamed officials, he was in online communication with other white supremacists, and although they did not appear to have encouraged the massacre, the investigation was said to have widened to include other persons of interest.

    Criminal investigation

    Manhunt and capture

    The attack was treated as a hate crime by police, and officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigationwere called in to assist in the investigation and manhunt.

    At 10:44 a.m., on the morning after the attack, Roof was captured in a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina, approximately 245 miles (394 km) from the shooting scene. A .45-caliber pistol was found in the car during the arrest, though it was not immediately clear if it was the same one used in the attack. Police received a tip-off from a woman who recognized Roof driving his car, a black Hyundai Elantra with South Carolina license plates and a three-flag "Confederate States of America" bumper decoration, on U.S. Route 74, recalling security camera images taken at the church and distributed to the media. She later recalled, "I got closer and saw that haircut. I was nervous. I had the worst feeling. Is that him or not him?" She called her employer, who contacted local police, and then tailed the suspect's car for 35 miles (56 km) until she was certain authorities were moving in for an arrest.

    Legal proceedings

    Roof waived his extradition rights and was flown to Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston on the evening of June 18. At the jail, his cell-block neighbor was Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer charged with murder after he shot Walter Scott. According to unconfirmed reports, Roof confessed to committing the attack and said his purpose was to start a race war. He reportedly told investigators he almost did not go through with his mission because members of the church study group had been so nice to him.

    On June 19, Roof was charged with nine counts of murder and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. He first appeared in Charleston County court via videoconferenceat a bond hearing later that day. At the hearing, shooting survivors and relatives of five of the victims spoke to Roof directly, saying that they were "praying for his soul" and forgave him.

    The judge, Charleston County chief magistrate James "Skip" Gosnell, Jr., caused controversy at the bond hearing with his statement that, alongside the dead victims and their families, "there are victims on this young man's side of the family [...] Nobody would have ever thrown them into the whirlwind of events that they are being thrown into." In 2005, the South Carolina Supreme Courtreprimanded Gosnell for using a racial slur while on the bench in 2003. Gosnell set a $1 million bond for the weapons possession charge and no bail on the nine counts of murder.

    Governor Nikki Haley has called on prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Roof.

    On July 7, Roof was indicted on the nine murder charges and the weapons charge, as well three new charges of attempted murder, one for each person who survived the shooting. His state trial is scheduled to start on January 17, 2017. He also faces federal hate crime charges, including nine counts of using a firearm to commit murder and 24 civil rights violations (12 hate crimecharges and 12 counts of violating a person's freedom of religion), with 18 of the charges carrying the federal death penalty.

    On July 31, Roof pleaded not guilty to the federal charges against him on the advice of his lawyer David Bruck. Bruck earlier said Roof wanted to plead guilty, but he couldn't advise it without knowing the government's intentions.

    On September 3, Ninth Circuit solicitor (district attorney) Scarlett Wilson announced that she intended to seek the federal death penalty against Roof, with the decision being made since more than two people were killed in the shooting and others' lives were put at risk. On September 16, Roof said through his attorney that he was willing to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole. On October 1, the federal trial was pushed back to at least January 2016 to give prosecutors and Roof's attorneys more time to prepare. On December 1, the trial was postponed again to an unknown date. He and Joey Meek, accused of misprision of felony and lying to investigators about Roof's plans, will reappear in federal court on February 11, 2016, while their lawyers hold a bar meeting with prosecutors to discuss their cases. Jury selection will start on January 17, 2017.

    Aftermath

    Context of racism

    Memorials

    Community response

    Other investigations

    Reactions

    Officials

    Families

    Local community

    Religious community

    Others

    Controversies

    Confederate flag

    Flag removal from statehouse grounds

    Retailer bans

    Other

    Earl Holt political donations

    "Terrorism" terminology


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                On this date, 18 June 2007, the 2007 Melbourne CBD shooting was an incident that occurred in the Central Business District of Melbourne, Victoria on 18 June 2007. Three people were shot, one fatally, by Christopher Wayne Hudson, 31, a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, who opened fire on two men and a woman during an argument on the corner of William Street and Flinders Lane at about 8:20 am. Hudson fled from the scene and went into hiding for two days, before turning himself in to police on 20 June 2007 in Wallan, north of Melbourne.

    In May 2008, Hudson pleaded guilty to the murder of Brendan Keilar and was sentenced that September to life imprisonment with a minimum of 35 years before becoming eligible for parole.

    Hudson is such a violent criminal and I hope that he does not kill an inmate or a prison staff. 


    Christopher Wayne Hudson
     Please go to this previous blog post to learn more about this violent gangster.

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     On this date, June 18, 2010, Ronnie Lee Gardner was the third Death Row Inmate to die from the firing squadin Utah. He was also the seventh person to be executed in the State of Utah since 1976.

    Ronnie Lee Gardner
    Photo by the Utah Department of Corrections
      

    Gardner was executed on the metal chair at the right side of this chamber in Utah State Prison. The two narrow rifle ports can be seen in the middle-left. Panoramic mosaic of the execution chamber at Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, USA. The platform at the left is used for lethal injection. The seat at the right and the two narrow gun ports on the far wall of the room are used for execution by firing squad. Built in 1998, the first person to be executed in this chamber was Joseph Mitchell Parsons in 1999.

    Ronnie Lee Gardner (January 16, 1961 – June 18, 2010) was an American criminal who received the death penalty for murder in 1985, and was executed by firing squad by the state of Utah in 2010. Gardner's case spent nearly 25 years in the court system, prompting the Utah House of Representatives to introduce legislation to limit the number of appeals in capital cases.

    In October 1984, Gardner killed Melvyn John Otterstrom during a robbery in Salt Lake City. While being transported in April 1985 to a court hearing for the homicide, he fatally shot attorney Michael Burdell in an unsuccessful escape attempt. Convicted of two counts of murder, Gardner was sentenced to life imprisonment for the first count and received the death penalty for the second. The state adopted more stringent security measures as a result of the incident at the courthouse. While held at Utah State Prison, Gardner was charged with another capital crime for stabbing an inmate in 1994. However, that charge was overturned by the Utah Supreme Court because the victim survived.

    In a series of appeals, defense attorneys presented mitigating evidence of the troubled upbringing of Gardner, who had spent nearly his entire adult life in incarceration. His request for commutation of his death sentence was denied in 2010 after the families of his victims testified against him. Gardner's legal team took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to intervene.

    The execution of Gardner at Utah State Prison became the focus of media attention in June 2010, because it was the first to be carried out by firing squad in the United States in 14 years. Gardner stated that he sought this method of execution because of his Mormon background. On the day before his execution, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement clarifying its position on the issue of blood atonement of individuals. The case also attracted debate over capital punishment and whether Gardner had been destined for a life of violence since his difficult childhood.

      

    (SOURCE: http://www.jantoo.com/cartoons/keywords/firing-squads& http://www.jantoo.com/cartoons/lowres/209/20902271_low.jpg)


    Please go to two of these Unit 1012 Blog Posts to hear from the victims’ families and also a rebuttal to the abolitionists.
     

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    On this date, June 22, 1945, an Imperial Japanese Lieutenant General Isamu Chō, committed seppuku in Okinawa. Please go to this previous blog post to learn more about him.


    General Isamu Chō (Chō Isamu)


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                On this date, June 26, 2015, The U.S. Supreme Courtruled, 5–4, that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. I will post the information about this SCOTUS case from Wikipedia.

    White House in rainbow lights to celebrate June 26, 2015 ruling by US Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage nationally.

    Obergefell v. Hodges


    Argued April 28, 2015
    Decided June 26, 2015
    Full case name
    James Obergefell, et al., Petitioners v. Richard Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al.
    Docket nos.
    Citations
    576 U.S. ___ (more)
    135 S. Ct. 2584; 192 L. Ed. 2d 609; 83 U.S.L.W. 4592; 25 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 472; 2015 WL 2473451; 2015 U.S. LEXIS 4250; 2015 BL 204553
    Related cases
    Argument
    Opinion announcement
    Holding
    The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State. United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed. Baker v. Nelson overturned.
    Court membership
    Case opinions
    Majority
    Kennedy, joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan
    Dissent
    Roberts, joined by Scalia, Thomas
    Dissent
    Scalia, joined by Thomas
    Dissent
    Thomas, joined by Scalia
    Dissent
    Alito, joined by Scalia, Thomas
    Laws applied
    This case overturned a previous ruling or rulings

    Obergefell v. Hodges, 576U.S. ___ (2015), is a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held in a 5–4 decision that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    In November 2014, following a lengthy series of appeals court rulings from the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and TenthCircuits that state-level bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, the Sixth Circuit ruled that it was bound by Baker v. Nelson and found such bans to be constitutional. This created a split between circuits and led to an almost inevitable Supreme Court review.

    Decided on June 26, 2015, Obergefell overturned Baker and requires all states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize same-sex marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions. This legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States, and its possessions and territories. The Court examined the nature of fundamental rights guaranteed to all by the Constitution, the harm done to individuals by delaying the implementation of such rights while the democratic process plays out, and the evolving understanding of discrimination and inequality that has developed greatly since Baker.

    Prior to Obergefell, thirty-six states, the District of Columbia, and Guam already issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The governor of Puerto Rico announced on June 26 that same-sex marriage would begin in that territory within 15 days, and on June 29 and June 30, the governors of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands(respectively) made similar announcements. The status of same-sex marriage in American Samoaremains uncertain.

    1Lawsuits in the district courts

    The U.S. Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges is not the culmination of one lawsuit. Ultimately, it is the consolidation of six lower-court cases, originally representing sixteen same-sex couples, seven of their children, a widower, an adoption agency, and a funeral director. Those cases came from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. All six federal district court rulings found for the same-sex couples and other claimants.

    1.1Michigan case: DeBoer v. Snyder

    One case came from Michigan, involving a female couple and their three children. April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse held a commitment ceremony in February 2007. They were foster parents. A son was born on January 25, 2009, and adopted by Rowse in November. A daughter was born on February 1, 2010, and adopted by DeBoer in April 2011. A second son was born on November 9, 2009, and adopted by Rowse in October 2011. Michigan law allowed adoption only by single people or married couples. Consequently, on January 23, 2012, DeBoer and Rowse filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Southern Division, Detroit), DeBoer v. Snyder, alleging Michigan's adoption law was unconstitutional. Richard Snyder, the lead defendant, was then governor of Michigan.

    During a hearing on August 29, 2012, Judge Bernard A. Friedman expressed reservations regarding plaintiffs' cause of action, suggesting they amend their complaint to challenge the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The plaintiffs amended their complaint accordingly on September 7. During a hearing on March 7, 2013, Judge Friedman decided he would delay the case until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry, hoping for guidance. On October 16, Friedman set trial for February 25, 2014. The trial ended March 7. On March 21, Judge Friedman ruled for the plaintiffs, concluding that, "without some overriding legitimate interest, the state cannot use its domestic relations authority to legislate families out of existence. Having failed to establish such an interest in the context of same-sex marriage, the [state marriage ban] cannot stand."

    1.2Ohio cases

    1.2.1Obergefell v. Kasich

    Two cases came from Ohio, the first ultimately involving a male couple, a widower, and a funeral director. In June 2013, following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, James Obergefell (pronunciation: /ˈoʊbərɡəfɛl/OH-bər-gə-fel) and John Arthur decided to get married to obtain legal recognition of their relationship. They married in Maryland on July 11. After learning that their state of residence, Ohio, would not recognize their marriage, they filed a lawsuit, Obergefell v. Kasich, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Western Division, Cincinnati) on July 19, 2013, alleging that the state discriminates against same-sex couples who have married lawfully out-of-state. John Kasich, the lead defendant, was then governor of Ohio. Because one partner, John Arthur, was terminally ill and suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), they wanted the Ohio Registrar to identify the other partner, James Obergefell, as his surviving spouse on his death certificate, based on their marriage in Maryland. The local Ohio Registrar agreed that discriminating against the same-sex married couple was unconstitutional, but the state attorney general's office announced plans to defend Ohio's same-sex marriage ban.

    As the case progressed, on July 22, District Judge Timothy S. Black granted the couple's motion, temporarily restraining the Ohio Registrar from accepting any death certificate unless it recorded the deceased's status at death as "married" and his partner as "surviving spouse". Black wrote that "[t]hroughout Ohio's history, Ohio law has been clear: a marriage solemnized outside of Ohio is valid in Ohio if it is valid where solemnized", and noted that certain marriages between cousins or minors, while unlawful if performed in Ohio, are recognized by the state if lawful when solemnized in other jurisdictions. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine indicated he would not appeal the preliminary order. On August 13, Black extended the temporary restraining order until the end of December and scheduled oral arguments on injunctive relief, which is permanent, for December 18.

    Meanwhile, on July 22, 2013, David Michener and William Herbert Ives married in Delaware. They had three adoptive children. On August 27, William Ives died unexpectedly in Cincinnati, Ohio. His remains were being held at a Cincinnati funeral home pending the issuance of a death certificate, required before cremation, the deceased's desired funeral rite. As surviving spouse David Michener's name could not by Ohio law appear on the death certificate, he sought legal remedy, being added as a plaintiff in the case on September 3.

    As the newly amended case moved forward, on September 25, Black granted a September 19 motion by the plaintiffs to dismiss the governor and the state attorney general as defendants, and to add funeral director Robert Grunn to the lawsuit so that he could obtain clarification of his legal obligations under Ohio law when serving clients with same-sex spouses, such as his client James Obergefell. Ohio Health Department Director Theodore Wymyslo was substituted as the lead defendant, and the case was restyled Obergefell v. Wymyslo. On October 22, plaintiff John Arthur died. The state defendants moved to dismiss the case as moot. Judge Black, in an order dated November 1, denied the motion to dismiss. On December 23, Judge Black ruled that Ohio's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions was discriminatory and ordered Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions on death certificates. He wrote, "When a state effectively terminates the marriage of a same-sex couple married in another jurisdiction, it intrudes into the realm of private marital, family, and intimate relations specifically protected by the Supreme Court."

    1.2.2Henry v. Wymyslo

    The second case from Ohio involved four couples, a child, and an adoption agency. Georgia Nicole Yorksmith and Pamela Yorksmith married in California on October 14, 2008. They had a son in 2010 and were expecting another child. In 2011, Kelly Noe and Kelly McCraken married in Massachusetts. They were expecting a child. Joseph J. Vitale and Robert Talmas married in New York on September 20, 2011. In 2013, they sought the services of the adoption agency, Adoption S.T.A.R., finally adopting a son on January 17, 2014, the same day Brittani Henry and Brittni Rogers married in New York. They, too, were expecting a son. The three female couples were living in Ohio, each anticipating the birth of a child later in 2014. Vitale and Talmas were living in New York with their adopted son, Child Doe, born in Ohio in 2013 and also a plaintiff through his parents. On February 10, 2014, the four legally married couples filed a lawsuit, Henry v. Wymyslo, also in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Western Division, Cincinnati), to force the state to list both parents on their children's birth certificates. Adoption agency, Adoption S.T.A.R., sued due to the added and inadequate services Ohio law forced it to provide to same-sex parents adopting in the state. Theodore Wymyslo, the lead defendant, was then director of the Ohio Department of Health.

    As the case moved forward, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to ask the court to declare Ohio's recognition ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Judge Black gave the state time to prepare its appeal of his decision by announcing on April 4 that he would issue an order on April 14 requiring Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Following the resignation of the lead defendant, Ohio's director of health, Ted Wymyslo, for reasons unrelated to the case, Lance Himes became interim director, and the case was restyled Henry v. Himes. On April 14, Black ruled that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, and, on April 16, stayed enforcement of his ruling, except for the birth certificates sought by the plaintiffs.

    1.3Kentucky cases

    1.3.1Bourke v. Beshear

    Two cases came from Kentucky, the first ultimately involving four same-sex couples and their six children. Gregory Bourke and Michael DeLeon married in Ontario, Canada, on March 29, 2004. They had two children: Plaintiff I.D., a fourteen-year-old girl, and Plaintiff I.D., a fifteen-year-old boy. Randell Johnson and Paul Campion married in California on July 3, 2008. They had four children: Plaintiffs T.J.-C. and T.J.-C., twin eighteen-year-old boys, Plaintiff D.J.-C., a fourteen-year-old boy, and Plaintiff M.J.-C., a ten-year-old girl. Jimmy Meade and Luther Barlowe married in Iowa on July 30, 2009. Kimberly Franklin and Tamera Boyd married in Connecticut on July 15, 2010. All resided in Kentucky. On July 26, 2013, Bourke and DeLeon, and their two children through them, filed a lawsuit, Bourke v. Beshear, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky (Louisville Division), challenging Kentucky's bans on same-sex marriage and the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Steve Beshear, the lead defendant, was then governor of Kentucky.

    Subsequently, on August 16, the complaint was amended to bring Johnson and Campion, their four children through them, and Meade and Barlowe into the case, again challenging the state's bans on same-sex marriage and the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. On November 1, the complaint was amended again to bring Franklin and Boyd into the case, now challenging only Kentucky's ban on the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Originally, the couple had filed their own lawsuit, Franklin v. Beshear, with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, but a change of venue was ordered for convenience, with the intent formally to consolidate the case with Bourke. Consolidation never occurred, and that separate case was dismissed for failure to raise new claims. On February 12, 2014, Judge John G. Heyburn II issued the court's decision: "In the end, the Court concludes that Kentucky's denial of recognition for valid same-sex marriages violates the United States Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law, even under the most deferential standard of review. Accordingly, Kentucky's statutes and constitutional amendment that mandate this denial are unconstitutional."

    1.3.2Love v. Beshear

    The second case from Kentucky, Love v. Beshear, involved two male couples. Maurice Blanchard and Dominique James held a religious marriage ceremony on June 3, 2006. Kentucky county clerks repeatedly refused them marriage licenses. Timothy Love and Lawrence Ysunza had been living together as a couple for thirty years when, on February 13, 2014, they were refused a marriage license at the Jefferson County Clerk's office. On February 14, the next day, the couples submitted a motion to join Bourke v. Beshear, challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The motion was granted on February 27, and the case was bifurcated, the instant action restyled as Love v. Beshear, on February 28. On July 1, 2014, Judge Heyburn issued his ruling. He found "homosexual persons constitute a quasi-suspect class", and ordered that Kentucky's laws banning same-sex marriage "violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and they are void and unenforceable." In the course of assessing the state's arguments for the bans, he stated, "These arguments are not those of serious people."

    1.4Tennessee case: Tanco v. Haslam

    One case came from Tennessee, involving four same-sex couples. Joy "Johno" Espejo and Matthew Mansell married in California on August 5, 2008. On September 25, 2009, they adopted two foster children. After Mansell's job was transferred to the state, they relocated to Franklin, Tennessee, in May 2012. Kellie Miller and Vanessa DeVillez married in New York on July 24, 2011, later moving to Tennessee. Army Reservist Sergeant First Class Ijpe DeKoe and Thomas Kostura married in New York on August 4, 2011. In May 2012, after completing a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Sergeant DeKoe was restationed in Memphis, Tennessee, where the couple subsequently relocated. On September 3, 2013, the Department of Defense began recognizing their marriage, but the state did not. Valeria Tanco and Sophia Jesty married in New York on September 9, 2011, then moved to Tennessee, where they were university professors. They were expecting their first child in 2014. On October 21, 2013, wishing to have their out-of-state marriages recognized in Tennessee, the four couples filed a lawsuit, Tanco v. Haslam, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (Nashville Division). William Edwards Haslam, the lead defendant, was then governor of Tennessee.

    As the case progressed, on November 19, 2013, the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction enjoining the state from applying its marriage recognition ban against them. On March 10, 2014, plaintiff couple Kellie Miller and Vanessa DeVillez withdrew from the case. On March 14, Judge Aleta Arthur Trauger granted a preliminary injunction requiring the state to recognize the marriages of the three plaintiff couples. She wrote, "At this point, all signs indicate that, in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs' marriages will be placed on an equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and that proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history." The state immediately filed a motion to stay this ruling, but, on March 20, Judge Trauger denied the request, reasoning that "the court's order does not open the floodgates for same-sex couples to marry in Tennessee ... [and] applies only to the three same-sex couples at issue in this case."

    2Reversal by the Sixth Circuit

    The six decisions of the four federal district courts were appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Ohio's director of health appealed Obergefell v. Wymyslo on January 16, 2014. The governor of Tennessee appealed Tanco v. Haslam on March 18. On March 21, the governor of Michigan appealed DeBoer v. Snyder. The governor of Kentucky appealed Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear on March 18 and July 8, respectively. And on May 9 Ohio's director of health appealed Henry v. Himes.

    Subsequently, on May 20, the Sixth Circuit consolidated Obergefell v. Himes with Henry v. Himes for the purposes of briefing and oral argument. (On April 15, after Ohio's governor appointed Lance Himes interim health director on February 21, Obergefell was restyled Obergefell v. Himes.) Upon prior motion by the parties, the Sixth Circuit also consolidated Bourke v. Beshearand Love v. Beshear on July 16. On August 6, the three-judge panel consisting of Judges Jeffrey Sutton, Deborah L. Cook, and Martha Craig Daughtrey heard oral arguments in all four cases. On August 11, Richard Hodges succeeded Himes as Ohio's health director, and Obergefell was again retitled, this time as its final iteration of Obergefell v. Hodges.

    On November 6, 2014, in a decision styled DeBoer v. Snyder, the Sixth Circuit ruled 2–1 that Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage did not violate the U.S. Constitution. The court said it was bound by the U.S. Supreme Court's 1972 action in a similar case, Baker v. Nelson, which dismissed a same-sex couple's marriage claim "for want of a substantial federal question". Writing for the majority, Judge Suttonalso dismissed the arguments made on behalf of same-sex couples in this case: "Not one of the plaintiffs' theories, however, makes the case for constitutionalizing the definition of marriage and for removing the issue from the place it has been since the founding: in the hands of state voters."

    Dissenting, Judge Daughtrey wrote:


    Because the correct result is so obvious, one is tempted to speculate that the majority has purposefully taken the contrary position to create the circuit splitregarding the legality of same-sex marriage that could prompt a grant of certiorari by the Supreme Court and an end to the uncertainty of status and the interstate chaos that the current discrepancy in state laws threatens.


    3Before the Supreme Court

    3.1Petitions for writs of certiorari

    Claimants from each of the six district court cases appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. On November 14, 2014, the same-sex couples, widowers, child plaintiff, and funeral director in DeBoer v. Snyder, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Tanco v. Haslam filed petitions for writs of certiorariwith the Court. Adoption agency Adoption S.T.A.R. did not petition. The same-sex couples in Bourke v. Beshear filed their petition for a writ of certiorari with the Court on November 18. The DeBoer petitioners presented the Court with the question of whether denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The Obergefell petitioners asked the Court to consider whether Ohio's refusal to recognize marriages from other jurisdictions violated the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantees of due process and equal protection, and whether the state's refusal to recognize the adoption judgment of another state violated the U.S. Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause. The Tancopetitioners asked the Court to consider three questions: whether denying same-sex couples the right to marry, including recognition of out-of-state marriages, violated the Due Process or Equal Protections Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment; whether refusing to recognize their out-of-state marriages violated same-sex couples' right to interstate travel; and whether Baker v. Nelson (1972), summarily dismissing same-sex couples' marriage claims, remained binding precedent. Lastly, the Bourke petitioners posed to the Court two questions: whether a state violates the Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment by prohibiting same-sex couples to marry, and whether it does so by refusing to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

    3.2Merits briefs

    On January 16, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court consolidated the four same-sex marriage cases challenging state laws that prohibited same-sex marriage—DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), Obergefell v. Hodges (Ohio), Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky), and Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee)—and agreed to review the case. It set a briefing schedule to be completed April 17. The Court ordered briefing and oral argument on the following questions:
    1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
    2. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
    The Court also told the parties to each of the four cases to address only the questions raised in their particular case. Thus, Obergefell raises only the second question, the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.

    The case gained much national attention and had 148 amici curiae briefs submitted, more than any other U.S. Supreme Court case.

    3.3Oral argument

    Oral arguments in the case were heard on April 28, 2015. The plaintiffs were represented by civil rights lawyer Mary Bonauto and Washington, D.C. lawyer Douglas Hallward-Driemeier. U.S. Solicitor GeneralDonald B. Verrilli, Jr., representing the United States, also argued for the same-sex couples. The states were represented by former Michigan Solicitor GeneralJohn J. Bursch and Joseph R. Whalen, an associate solicitor general from Tennessee. Of the nine justices, all except Clarence Thomas made comments and asked questions, giving clues as to their positions on the Constitution and the future of same-sex marriage. While the questions and comments of the justices during oral arguments are an imperfect indicator of their final decisions, the justices appeared sharply divided in their approaches to this issue, splitting as they often do along ideological lines, with Justice Anthony Kennedy being pivotal. It was thought Chief Justice John Roberts could be pivotal as well. Despite his past views, and his dissent in Windsor, Roberts made comments during oral argument suggesting that the bans in question may constitute sex discrimination. In the end, however, he argued against the same-sex couples in his opinion.

    4Opinion of the Court

    On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 5–4 decision that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all states to grant same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states. The Court overruled its prior decision in Baker v. Nelson, which the Sixth Circuit had invoked as precedent.

    The Obergefell v. Hodges decision came on the second anniversary of the United States v. Windsor ruling that struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal recognition to same-sex marriages. It also came on the twelfth anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down sodomy laws in 13 states. The justices' opinions in Obergefell are consistent with their opinions in Windsor. In both cases, Justice Kennedy authored the majority opinions and was considered the "swing vote".

    Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito each wrote a separate dissenting opinion. The Chief Justice read part of his dissenting opinion from the bench, his first time doing so since joining the Court in 2005.

    4.1Majority opinion

    Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. The majority held that state same-sex marriage bans are a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

    "The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach," the Court declared, "a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity." Citing Griswold v. Connecticut, the Court affirmed that the fundamental rights found in the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause "extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices that define personal identity and beliefs", but the "identification and protection" of these fundamental rights "has not been reduced to any formula." As the Supreme Court has found in cases such as Loving v. Virginia, Zablocki v. Redhail, and Turner v. Safley, this extension includes a fundamental right to marry.

    The Court rejected respondent states' framing of the issue as whether there were a "right to same-sex marriage", insisting its precedents "inquired about the right to marry in its comprehensive sense, asking if there was a sufficient justification for excluding the relevant class from the right." Indeed, the majority averred, "If rights were defined by who exercised them in the past, then received practices could serve as their own continued justification and new groups could not invoke rights once denied." Citing its prior decisions in Loving v. Virginia and Lawrence v. Texas, the Court framed the issue accordingly in Obergefell.

    The Court listed four distinct reasons why the fundamental right to marry applies to same-sex couples. First, "the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy." Second, "the right to marry is fundamental because it supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals", a principle applying equally to same-sex couples. Third, the fundamental right to marry "safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education"; as same-sex couples have children and families, they are deserving of this safeguard—though the right to marry in the United States has never been conditioned on procreation. Fourth, and lastly, "marriage is a keystone of our social order", and "[t]here is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle"; consequently, preventing same-sex couples from marrying puts them at odds with society, denies them countless benefits of marriage, and introduces instability into their relationships for no justifiable reason.

    The Court noted the relationship between the liberty of the Due Process Clause and the equality of the Equal Protection Clause and determined that same-sex marriage bans violated the latter. Concluding that the liberty and equality of same-sex couples was significantly burdened, the Court struck down same-sex marriage bans for violating both clauses, holding that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all fifty states.

    Due to the "substantial and continuing harm" and the "instability and uncertainty" caused by state marriage laws differing with regard to same-sex couples, and because respondent states had conceded that a ruling requiring them to marry same-sex couples would undermine their refusal to hold valid same-sex marriages performed in other states, the Court also held that states must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.