Sunday, November 22, 2020

Death Penalty Watch

The federal government is reportedly intent on completing several additional executions in the coming weeks, squeezing these barbaric acts in before the new Administration takes office. The grim report on the status of planned executions is available from the Death Penalty Information Center.  To compound the terrible news of 2020, there have already been 8 federal executions in the U.S. this year, with the most recent occuring last Thursday just minutes after it was cleared to proceed by the Supreme Court. In a voting configuration we're likely to see frequently from the Court, Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, dissented from the one-sentence order that lifted a lower court's injunction of the killing.

When the U.S. recently went through it's Universal Periodic Review, the U.S. death penalty was a frequent focus of government critiques.  France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Austria, among others called on the U.S. to end federal executions.  

President-elect Biden has indicated that he opposes the death penalty and will work to end it on the federal level.  However, with so many competing priorities for the new administration's attention, advocates will need to put pressure to ensure that the machinery of death is paused immediately upon the transition of administrations.

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