Biden vowed to abolish the death penalty. Activists are demanding action near the 100-day mark


While there have been no federal or state executions since Biden took office, about 2,500 men and women sit in death row in federal and state jails across the country – and advocates say, executive orders from White In the absence of the House, any state can execute the program at any time or the Department of Justice may decide the date of death of a federal prisoner.

“President Biden made it clear, as he did on the campaign trail, that he had serious concerns about whether the death penalty, as it is currently enforced, is consistent with the values ​​that are part of our sense of justice and fairness. Are fundamental, “said Saki after the Supreme Court agreed to review the Boston Marathon bombers’ death penalty case.

CNN reached the White House for further comment and received the same statement from Saki.

Abolishing the death penalty statute through Congress would prevent future administrations from resuming federal execution – as did former President Donald Trump – but with members of Congress, former and current law enforcement -With civil and human rights groups urging Biden to use them. Executive pen to prevent federal death penalty.

“, The growing calls from criminal justice, law enforcement and other leaders for the president to seize the moment as a growing number of governors in states such as Virginia have moved towards abolishing capital punishment,” Maryam Krinsky , The executive director said the legal advocacy group Fair and Just Prosecution, one of dozens of legal organizations that sent Biden a letter urging him to take immediate action. “The death penalty should end once and for all in the federal landscape and in a way that cannot be revived by future administrations.”

Promise to pass the law

Former Attorney General William Barr lifted the federal capital punishment ban in July 2019, closing the cascade of lethal injection – a total of 13 – Terror Haute, Indiana, federal prison. Lawmakers, death penalty advocates and celebrities have unsuccessfully lobbied Trump to stop the proceedings.

In response, Massachusetts Rep. Ayana Pressley Sponsored a bill to abolish capital punishment, the death penalty of prisoners without the possibility of parole, the death of prisoners and the destruction of death chambers in prisons. Bill was reduced but Resumed In January and sent to the committee.

Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed in his confirmation hearing in February that the new administration was committed to reversing Trump’s approach. “The data is clear that it has a very disproportionate impact on Black Americans and members of communities of color, and exoneration is just like half of the exoneration had to do with black men. So all these have given me pause,” Garland. said.

Garland said he hoped to give Biden a direction on the death penalty, or that he would likely return to a previous Department of Justice policy that allowed the Federal Prison Bureau to schedule any federal execution Will not order.

Powers limited to federal affairs

Daniel S., Distinguished Professor of University of Law and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. According to Medved, the president only has the power to withhold the federal death penalty.

“He can’t do much about the state’s death cases, which is up to the governors and legislators – but he takes care of all life sentences, from the death penalty to the possibility of parole,” Medan told CNN. Can cleanse death by keeping it in place. ”

With agitation on pending death penalty cases in Supreme court, Through this Justice Department And in Arizona, where state Attorney General Mark Brnovich set execution dates Two death row inmates After a seven-year hiatus, advocates are questioning why Biden’s administration has not taken steps to stop the death penalty.

“I don’t think citizens want the death penalty or deferment. Now, it’s a matter of dismantling the system, so it can’t come back and act in a knee-jerk reaction, where 13 people are executed under Trump Can, ”an exon, Fernando Bermudez, told CNN. “Biden cannot continue that legacy.”

Bermudez wrongly served 18 years in a New York prison for a 1991 suicide and since his release, he has devoted his life to abolishing the death penalty. Bermudez is “disappointed” that Biden has not taken a small measure of action so far.

Bermudez, 52, said, “Getting rid of the death penalty is very important because an innocent person can always be convicted.” This is a case where people on death row can also be killed by mistake. I think this is a case of misuse of the law and capital punishment has not been proven to stop crime or stop crime the way people hoped it would. ”

Kwame Azamu, a member of Dame Row, told CNN Last interview That “capital punishment is the worst thing we can do to each other as human beings.” Azamu told in his stories, along with other death lines National Geographic’s March The issue is over with another letter 220 organizations Calling Biden to abolish capital punishment.
The Death Penalty Information Center reported in February 185 people Those sentenced to death since the 1970s were wrongly convicted and released. The non-profit research organization, which does not take a stand on practice, also found that 1,532 people, executed since 1976, 20 men “There was strong evidence of innocence.”

What Biden can do without Congress

Kent Sheidegar, the legal director of The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, said that even though Biden exercised his power to give commutation to everyone on the death row, the guilty marzon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, would “come with a lot of resistance.” “CJLF is a non-profit organization that advocates equal justice for victims of crimes, including capital punishment.

Yet some of Zarnev’s victims have called for clemency.

“I don’t want to kill anyone in my name,” said Mickey Bogart, who survived the Boston Marathon bombing. The Supreme Court in March decided to conduct a review to reinstate Sunavre’s death sentence. “I hope Biden The administration will reconsider the death penalty. Mr. Tarnaev will spend the rest of his life in prison no matter what. ”

A White House official told CNN that Biden believed the Justice Department should “return to its former practice, not implement it,” but did not specify whether through adjournment or abolition. Will be through

Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said any executive move by future presidents would be open to reversal – but added that Biden does not have enough support in Congress to move the law.

He said Biden could also affect the state’s execution by ordering the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“The Biden administration can simply direct federal agencies to do their job, it can make it quite difficult for states to execute,” Dunham said.


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