A long-time associate and mentor to President Obama says the president is "close" to opposing the death penalty but not quite there yet -- and needs to be pushed to do it, according to the Washington Post.
"He's not there yet, but he's close, and needs some help," said Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., a law professor at Harvard University and prominent death penalty opponent who taught the president and First Lady Michelle Obama when both were students there. The legal scholar said he was planning on meeting with his former student next month and would confront him about the issue then.
Obama, who has said he supports executions in some circumstances but raised concerns about the application of capital punishment, has not yet focused in this new push on racial disparities in capital trials -- the most serious cases before any criminal court.
Ogletree predicted that the president will eventually have no choice but to oppose the death penalty, confronted with the data on racial disparities in capital punishment, as well as on the costs of litigating capital cases and on the number of defendants who are eventually exonerated.
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