FEDERAL DEATH PENALTY: A Puerto Rican Jury Again Votes Against Death Penalty

On April 11, a jury in Puerto Rico rejected a death sentence for a defendant convicted of murdering an undercover policeman. Instead, Lashaun Casey will be sentenced life in prison without parole. The defendant was eligible for the death penalty because the case was tried under federal law rather than the law of Puerto Rico, which abolished the death penalty under the constitution it enacted in 1952. The Commonwealth has not carried out an execution since 1927. Anti-death penalty protestors demonstrated every day during the trial. A recent poll indicated that 57% of Puerto Ricans oppose the death penalty.

(“Puerto Rican jury rejects death sentence in police killing,” Reuters, April 12, 2013). Governor Garcia Padilla of Puerto Rico has asked the federal government not to seek the death penalty there because the people oppose it. Despite numerous federal prosecutions, no death sentences have been handed down. See DPIC’s Federal Death Penalty and Puerto Rico page.