After nearly 20 years, federal government will resume executions

After nearly 20 years, federal government will resume executions

Credit: Oleksandr Lysenko/Shutterstock.
Credit: Oleksandr Lysenko/Shutterstock.

.- The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will resume executions after an almost two-decade lapse, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Thursday.

“Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding,” Attorney General William Barr said in a written statement on Thursday.

The Bureau of Prisons, adopting a proposed addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol, has scheduled five executions for the first time since the last federal execution in 2003. Five death-row inmates, convicted of the murders of children and adults and in some cases torture, are to be executed on dates in December 2019 and January 2020, and the DOJ said that the scheduling of “additional executions” will occur in the future.

The new federal lethal injection process will utilize one drug, pentobarbital, instead of the old three-drug process used in previous federal executions. It is similar to protocol in Missouri, Georgia, and Texas, a DOJ press release said.

The five death-row inmates are Daniel Lewis Lee, Lezmond Mitchell, Wesley Ira Purkey, Dustin Lee Honken, and Alfred Bourgeois.

Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2267 on the death penalty was updated in 2018 with a statement from Pope Francis, calling the death penalty “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”

“Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President,” Barr, a practicing Catholic and member of the Knights of Columbus, stated on Thursday.

Federal death penalty statues were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1972 in Furman v. Georgia; in 1988 revised federal death penalty statutes were instituted, and the number of eligible offenses was expanded under the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994, according to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). There are currently 62 federal death-row inmates, according to DPIC.

“The United States’ death penalty system is tragically flawed. Resuming federal executions — especially by an administration that identifies itself as ‘pro-life’ — is wrong-headed and unconscionable,” said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Executive Director of Catholic Mobilizing Network.

“The actions of the Federal government are meant to represent the values of the American people — values of equality, fairness, and for Catholics, above all, a belief in the sanctity of human life,” stated Vaillancourt Murphy. “The resumption of executions at the federal level flies in the face of these values, and promotes a culture of death where we so desperately need a culture of life.”

Tags: Catholic News, Death Penalty, Capital Punishment