Trump Administration Schedules Unprecedented Amount of Federal Inmate Executions Before the End of its Term.
With less than 60 days until President-elect Joe Biden takes over the office, the Trump administration has set an unprecedented record of scheduling the most federal inmates for execution during the last leg of a presidential term.
Attorney General William Barr resumed federal executions in July 2019 after a 17-year hiatus to bring “justice to victims of the most horrific crimes.” Despite legal attempts for extensions to complete clemency petitions; requests for a reprieve, commutation or clemency; and appeals to the Supreme Court, eight federal inmates have been put to death so far this year.
Five more death-row prisoners are scheduled to be executed, two within days of Biden’s swearing-in ceremony. If all the executions are carried out, the federal government would have authorized the executions of 13 federal death row inmates in six months. “What is clear is that this administration wants these prisoners dead before Joe Biden takes office,” Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center Robert Dunham said on Monday.
The only other time more than one execution happened during a transition was during Grover Cleveland’s first transition — from November 1884 to March 1885 — Dunham said.
While executions are carried out every year on the state level, federal executions were extremely rare until this year. In the 1970s, the Supreme Court found that executions were unconstitutional, but the ruling was later reversed. Under the 1994 Federal Death Penalty Act, executions on the federal side were limited to specific offences including homicide and non-homicide drug convictions.
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