PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The defense of Robert Bowers, the man charged in the Tree of Life shooting, has moved to dismiss some of the charges against him.
According to our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the motion was to dismiss charges of violating the Hate Crime Prevention Act and the Church Arson Act.
Bowers has been in custody at Squirrel Hill since filming in October 2018.
The lawyers argued that both acts violated general police powers reserved for states by the constitution.
A US judge disagreed.
Judge Donetta Ambrose issued a 20-page statement, saying the defendant's argument ignored a concept that federal laws often criminalize conduct that falls within traditional areas of state law.
The judge says the Hate Crime Prevention Act was approved by the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that abolished slavery and involuntary bondage.
Bowers faces the death penalty if convicted in federal court.