Critics of the death penalty denounced the decision by Attorney General William Barr to set execution dates for four federal prisoners on death row.
The executions of three of the men are scheduled within a five-day span in mid-July. If carried out, these would be the first executions of federal prisoners since 2003. Three of the men had been given execution dates last July, but before the executions could be carried out, court fights ensued over the drugs to be used in the executions.
“The federal government’s decision to pursue executions is wrongheaded. It is profoundly disappointing to see our federal government take such great pains to restart executions – a practice which plainly violates Catholic teaching and disregards the sacred dignity of human life,” said a statement by Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network.
“It is even more disheartening,” she added, “when one considers the widespread failures of the federal death penalty system, including issues of racial bias, arbitrariness, innocence and more.”
“Each of these inmates has exhausted appellate and post-conviction remedies, and no legal impediments prevent their executions, which will take place at US Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana,” the Justice Department said in a statement announcing the impending executions.
Picture: A death-row jail cell is seen at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, in this 2010 file photo. (CNS photo/Jenevieve Robbins, Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice handout via Reuters).