Attorneys for an alleged killer from Vermont are set to use the recent United States Supreme Court ruling on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act from 1992 to have their defendant’s case reevaluated. Donald Fell is a 38 year old male who is facing the death penalty from a murder dating back to 2000, of which his lawyers say the PASPA decision applies.
Fell will go to trial in the fall and in documents filed in the courts this week, a federal judge denied a challenge to the capital murder trial. The legal team argued that the logic behind the decision to strike down the federal ban applies to their client’s case.
The US Supreme Court ruled that the PASPA ban was unconstitutional, which led to states being able to legalize sports betting if they choose to pass legislation. Fell’s attorneys argued that the Federal Death Penalty Act is also unconstitutional based on the legal reasons. Because PASPA was ruled a states issue, then the attorneys feel that the death penalty law should be as well.
The attorneys argued that the federal government cannot force a state to use their resources to carry out a death penalty sentence. In Vermont, a death penalty does not exist. The attorneys have been unable to convince the courts of their beliefs, but they are still trying.
It is believed that the outcome of the case will set a precedence for the legal argument involving the Federal Death Penalty Act. Fell will have a trial later on this year that will be the second one involving the crime that happened almost two decades ago. In 2005, the initial conviction took place with the verdict overturned in 2014 after it was discovered the jury misconduct had taken place.
It will be interesting to see if the attorneys will be able to use the sports betting decision to gain ground in their client’s case.