Death Penalty Foe Joins Malvo Defense Team

Law Professor Roger D. Groot, a staunch opponent of capital punishment has joined the defense team of accused juvenile sniper John Lee Malvo.

"Roger D. Groot, a law professor at Washington and Lee University, has been a thorn in the side of prosecutors and prison officials in Virginia for decades....Early in his career as a law professor at Washington and Lee University, he advocated for the rights of inmates and immigrant detainees."

He will be assisted by two students at the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, a student-led legal-aid clinic at the law school.

Groot denounced the death penalty as "something that allows Americans to "destroy our own humanity." He said "I oppose the death penalty in all circumstances and I think it is counterproductive both morally and practically."

"Professor Groot said he became troubled early in his career by how the death penalty was carried out. "I came to understand," he said, "that the death penalty is almost random in terms of who is selected to be tried, depending on race, the views of the local prosecutor or an election campaign."

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