On the first monthly anniversary of his arrest, Telugu bidda Raghunandan Yandamuri has some reason to smile.
With barely three days left for the deadline, the White House petition seeking death penalty for Raghunandan Yandamuri has drawn a piffling 3,473 signatures as of 2:01PM ET on November 26, 2012.
Unless there’s a big surge over the next three days, the White House petition will die a miserable death.
Failure of the petition means that the White House will not respond to the petition.
To secure a response from the White House, at least 25,000 signatures within 30-days are needed.
King of Prussia, PA resident Raghunandan Yandamuri has been accused of kidnapping and murdering 10-month-old Saanvi Venna and killing her grandmother.
Raghunandan Yandamuri, 25, was arrested on October 26, 2012 and has since then been cooling his heels in the Montgomery County prison in Pennsylvania.
Raghunandan Yandamuri hails from the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the glorious land of Dum Biryani, Allu Arjun and mass export of software programmers to the U.S.
Of course, the petition is an asinine, meaningless exercise.
The folks behind the petition wrote that:
if he is not citizen of USA, he will be turn (sic) into Indian custody and sent back to India
That claim has no basis in fact.
If a person is found guilty of a crime in the U.S., he/she will be punished in this country.
Deporting a criminal to a woebegone corrupt nation like India where the law has no teeth is a recipe for disaster. And the U.S. knows it well.
Hence criminals are punished in the U.S. and non-citizens deported only after their term is completed in a U.S. prison.
Second, the petition assumes Raghunandan Yandamuri is guilty even before a trial and asks for the death penalty.
It’s the court’s responsibility to award the death penalty or other punishment on a guilty person depending on the nature and circumstances of the crime.
The White House or any other executive authority has little say in awarding the death penalty or any other punishment.
In the U.S., the President’s judicial power is restricted to pardon. According to Wiki,
In the United States, the pardon power for federal crimes is granted to the President of the United States under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution which states that the President “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” The Supreme Court of the United States has interpreted this language to include the power to grant pardons, conditional pardons, commutations of sentence, conditional commutations of sentence, remissions of fines and forfeitures, respites and amnesties
It’s highly unlikely that Obama or any future American President will ever pardon Raghunandan Yandamuri in the event he’s found guilty.
Should Raghunandan Yandamuri be found guilty, he will either rot in a U.S. prison for the rest of his life or get a death sentence.
Frankly, I’m surprised that the silly petition managed to get even 3,473 signatures.
While some of the signatures are a symbolic protest over the horrendous nature of the crime, I assume the majority of the signatories are clueless about the working of the criminal justice system in the United States.
Having been postponed twice, Raghunandan Yandamuri’s preliminary hearing is now set for November 28, 2012 in the court of Magisterial District Judge James Gallagher.
Since Raghunandan Yandamuri lacks the money to defend himself through a private attorney, a public defender (Stephen G. Heckman) has been appointed for him from the tax payers’ funds.
During his preliminary hearing on Wednesday, November 28, Raghunandan Yandamuri will have three options:
1. Plead guilty
2. Challenge the Prosecutor on probable cause
3. Waive the case into trial
It’s hard to predict which option Raghunandan Yandamuri will choose.
Yandamuri’s choices will be constrained by the fact that his wife Komali Alokam is here, pregnant, unemployed and presumably without much funds.
By the way, Pennsylvania is one of the few U.S. states that still has the death penalty.
Essential Facts About Raghunandan Yandamuri