Skip To Content
Fast Forward

White Supremacist Church Shooter Dylann Roof Barred From Firing Jewish Lawyer

The white supremacist who was convicted of shooting nine people in a South Carolina church as part of his plan to start a “race war” has been barred by a federal appeals court from firing his Jewish and Indian-American lawyers.

Dylann Roof filed a hand-written motion to the court from his federal prison, arguing that “Because of my political views, which are arguably religious, it will be impossible for me to trust two attorneys that are my political and biological enemies.”

But the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied his motion on Tuesday. Its entire statement was 11 words: “The court denies the motion for substitution of counsel on appeal.”

Roof is awaiting the death penalty (pending the end of his appeals) following his 2015 conviction on dozens of counts. His lawyer during his original trial was also Jewish, which Roof complained about in his filing, saying that his “ethnicity was a constant source of conflict even with my constant efforts to look past it.”

Contact Aiden Pink at [email protected] or on Twitter, @aidenpink.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.