Local officials discuss president's call for death penalty for certain drug dealers

Local officials discuss president's call for death penalty for certain drug dealers
President Trump calls for death penalty for drug dealers (Source: KLTV)

President Donald Trump proposed a new plan to combat the opioid crisis that includes applying the death penalty to dealers whose drugs cause overdose deaths.

Rusk County District Attorney Micheal Jimerson said he agrees with the proposal but doesn't know if it will pass. 

"I'm of the opinion that under the current United States Supreme Court, it would be a mood issue, meaning it would never survive constitutional muster," Jimerson said. 

He said it's extremely difficult to pass the death penalty in a capital murder trial, and only sees it being more difficult in a drug-related case.

"[It's an] incredibly slow [and] incredibly expensive [...] process," he said. "Now I still favor it, but that's why it's used so very limited, because it's so expensive and very [...] often despite having an absolutely clean record, that case is liable to get reversed somewhere down the road."

But if it did pass, Jimerson said it could help the nationwide drug issue.

"I believe it [could have] some deterrent effect, but it's going to be diluted by all of the criteria, all of the complexity, the inability to frankly impose it even if you have it," he said. 

It is not clear if the death penalty proposition for drug traffickers whose products cause multiple deaths would be constitutional.

The president has praised countries like Singapore because he said they have harsher penalties for drug dealers.

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