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Opinion

Readers React: The Constitution won’t let Trump put drug dealers to death

***BESTPIX*** President Trump Delivers Remarks At Manchester Community College In NH
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions and First Lady Melania Trump watch as President Trump speaks about the opioid epidemic in Manchester, N.H., on March 19.
(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

To the editor: President Trump wants to give the death penalty to drug dealers. (“Following Trump’s lead, Sessions urges federal prosecutors to seek death penalty against major drug dealers,” March 21)

Maybe if he was not so busy losing or firing people in the Justice Department and the FBI, some attorney or law enforcement officer would have told him that a constitutional amendment is needed to do that because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is a violation of the 8th Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment to impose the death penalty for any crime other than murder.

Drug dealing does not qualify.

Robert S. Henry, San Gabriel

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The writer is a retired capital case coordinator with the California attorney general’s office.

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To the editor: So Trump (and now Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions) suggests prosecutors consider the death penalty for drug dealers.

Look out, Walgreens, CVS, Purdue Pharma and other major sellers and manufacturers of addictive drugs — you may very well find yourselves in front of a firing line.

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Oh, that’s right, the ethically bereft system of capitalism has your back; profits are being made even if people are dying. Never mind, you’ll be OK.

Justin Webb, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I find it interesting that Trump’s focus in the new war on drugs in rural New Hampshire is on “getting tough” on dealers, not on drug users. In contrast, the “war on drugs” from the 1980s was focused on drug users in cities, filling our prisons and jails with African Americans and Latinos.

Now in rural New Hampshire, selling drugs is defined as a crime, while becoming addicted is defined as an illness.

Doris Isolini Nelson, Los Angeles

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