Greater than three dozen members of Congress are calling on the Biden administration to prioritize abolishing the dying penalty, in all jurisdictions, in response to a letter despatched Tuesday to the transition staff for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Whereas Biden has pledged to abolish the federal death penalty and to offer incentives to states to cease in search of dying sentences as part of his prison justice reform plan, 40 members of Congress and three congresspersons-elect mentioned they wish to be certain the irreversible apply ends on his first day in workplace.
“The present administration has weaponized capital punishment with callous disregard for human life. In the course of our present public well being disaster, the Division of Justice resumed federal executions and executed extra folks in six months than the overall quantity executed over the earlier six a long time,” Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley wrote in a letter first obtained by CNN.
The letter was authored lower than per week after celebrities, bipartisan politicians and anti-death penalty advocates referred to as for President Trump to cease the pending federal executions. Pressley particularly referred to as to remain Brandon Bernard’s execution as his trial had allegations of prosecutorial misconduct that solely surfaced two years in the past.
Pressley, a Democrat, introduced legislation on July 25, 2019—the identical day Lawyer Common William Barr introduced federal executions, which had been stalled since 2003, would resume—to rid of the apply on the federal degree and require resentencing for these presently on dying row. The invoice has not had any motion within the Home since August 2019.
For months, celebrities, bipartisan voices and anti-death penalty advocates have pushed for government intervention from Trump to cease the executions, to no avail. The Division of Justice has beforehand defended its choice to renew the federal dying penalty this summer season in any case appeals had been exhausted and the Supreme Court docket dominated of their favor to proceed their plans, regardless of the worldwide well being disaster.
Ten federal dying row inmates have been executed since July whereas a number of states have postponed executions due to the pandemic.
“With a stroke of your pen, you’ll be able to cease all federal executions, prohibit United States Attorneys from in search of the dying penalty, dismantle dying row at FCC Terre Haute, and name for the resentencing of people who find themselves presently sentenced to dying,” wrote Pressley. “Every of those parts are crucial to assist forestall higher hurt and additional lack of life.”
Miriam Krinsky, government director of the Truthful and Simply Prosecution, instructed CNN after a gathering with the Justice Division’s transition staff earlier this month, that stopping federal executions “does not actually require congressional motion.”
Krinsky and practically 100 bipartisan prison justice leaders together with, 60 elected prosecutors, which have signed a joint statement on Dec. three demanding a halt on the pending federal executions and for Trump to commute their sentences.
The proposed government order by Biden could also be too late for 3 inmates—together with the one White lady within the US scheduled to be executed in practically 70 years—who’re scheduled to die earlier than Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.
“Ending the barbaric and inhumane apply of government-sanctioned homicide is a commonsense step you could and should take to avoid wasting lives … Analysis additionally reveals that capital punishment doesn’t deter crime. Therefore, there isn’t any simply motive to proceed the dying penalty,” wrote Pressley.
To this point, there are 52 folks on federal dying row and 18 pending state executions, in response to the Death Row Information Center.