The attorneys for four current or former New Orleans police officers charged with shooting civilians on the Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina are meeting today with top U.S. Department of Justice officials to argue against the government’s seeking the death penalty for their clients, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Federal death penalty cases against cops are rare; there is only one former police officer on federal death row now: former New Orleans officer Len Davis, who ran a drug-protection racket in the mid-1990s and ordered the murder of a woman who filed a complaint to his superiors. The government seeks the death penalty in about one of every five death-eligible cases that go to the attorney general’s capital case review committee, says Kevin McNally of the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel. McNally’s group is consulting and assisting the Danziger attorneys in their presentation. Since 1988, the federal government authorized possible death sentences against 466 defendants.