U.S. To Continue Executions Through Transition In Break

The Justice Department is proceeding with plans for more federal executions in the closing days of President Trump's administration, including two scheduled shortly before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Attorney General William Barr announced the moves, connected with what he called "staggeringly brutal murders," in a statement late Friday. The Justice Department said the directives amounted to a continuation of its policy since last year when it relaunched federal executions after an informal moratorium that had been in place for 17 years. If the Justice Department plan moves forward, 13 people will have faced death by lethal injection during the Trump administration. Legal experts who follow capital punishment said that would be the most since the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who served 12 years in office before his death in 1945. RELATED |  U.S.: Barr's Justice Department Prepares To End Trump's Term With an Execution Spree Robert Du

U.S. | Death Penalty Abolitionists Deliver Thousands of Petitions to President Trump

It has been 131 years since a federal execution was carried out under a lame duck president, in 1889 under Grover Cleveland.

Tuesday, Death Penalty Action (DPA) delivered a petition to the White House signed by thousands of citizens asking President Trump to stop the 3 remaining federal executions currently scheduled. 

The petition was delivered ahead of the execution of Orlando Hall, who is scheduled to be killed on Thursday, November 19. 

Other organizations are also submitting petitions in general and in the 3 specific cases, and last week Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Senators Durbin, Leahy and Booker wrote directly to the president.

“The thousands of people who have signed this petition represent the millions who understand the death penalty is not necessary,” said Abraham Bonowitz, director of Death Penalty Action. “We can be safe from dangerous individuals and hold them accountable to their crimes without executions. It’s what we do in the vast majority of cases.”

No federal executions had taken place since 2003 when federal executions resumed in July under President Trump’s administration. 

There were seven executions within 11 weeks, a number equal to all of the executions carried out in the entire 8 year term of President Harry Truman.

“President Trump is already the most-executing president since the 1950’s, so he’s got his record as the biggest and the best,” said Bonowitz. “No further executions are necessary for him to hold his record.”

Orlando Hall’s pending execution on November 19th would make him the 8th individual to be executed this year. 

These executions have been carried out in the midst of a growing spike of COVID-19 even as courts or governors in all states with pending executions granted reprieves, citing health concerns related to the pandemic.

Death Penalty Action will hold an in-person vigil to protest the execution of Orlando Hall at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C. on Thursday from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. 

DPA is part of the Terre Haute Death Penalty Resistance network, which will be protesting outside of the federal death house at Terre Haute. 

DPA will also sponsor a concurrent virtual vigil featuring allies and partner organizations via zoom and broadcast via Facebook Live.

Source: Death Penalty Action, Staff, November 18, 2020. Death Penalty Action provides high visibility resources, leadership and support in order to stop executions.

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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