The US federal government executed the death penalty for the first time in 17 years.
After a lapse of 17 years, the US federal government executed the death penalty for the first time on the morning of July 14, local time, and executed the death penalty for a murderer by injection. This is the first execution of the death penalty at the federal level in the United States since 2003. This week, two more death row prisoners will be executed.
“The United States federally executed the death penalty for the first time in 17 years.” /CBS report screenshot
The Trump administration’s first execution of the death penalty is full of twists and turns, and the victims’ families want to postpone execution
According to the Associated Press, local time in July On the morning of the 14th, Daniel Louis Lee was shot and executed in a prison in Indiana. The coroner declared Lee dead at 8:07 Eastern Time.
The last paragraph Li said before being killed by injection was,”I haven’t done it. I have made many mistakes in my life, but I am not a murderer. You are killing an innocent person.”
Li, 47, is considered a white supremacist. In 1999, he was accused of torturing, killing a family of three in Arkansas (including an 8-year-old girl) and dumping the victim’s body in the lake in 1996. He was sentenced to death. Another of his associates was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
Lee’s execution has gone through twists and turns. According to CNN reports, Li Yuan was scheduled to be executed in December 2019 and was postponed to 16:00 on July 13 this year.
However, just a few hours before the execution of the death penalty, Federal Judge Tania Kutkan of the United States Court of Appeals in Washington, DC ruled that in accordance with the Eighth Amendment to the United States Federal Constitution, by injection of pentobarbital The execution of the death penalty is unconstitutional and requires a postponement.
In the early morning of the 14th, nine judges of the United States Supreme Court ruled that with five people in favor and four people in opposition, they can continue to execute the death penalty.
In fact, the relatives of the victim of the case had expressed hope that the death penalty would be postponed. They have appealed that they are now in the midst of an epidemic, and it would be very risky to go to the death penalty execution site, so they requested that the death penalty be postponed. The victim’s mother, Erlin Peterson, 81, clearly opposed the execution, saying that her daughter would not want someone to die because of her. Peterson hopes that Lee and his associates will be sentenced to life imprisonment.
“The Supreme Court clears the way for the federal execution of the death penalty.” /NBC report screenshot
Lawyers called it “the government’s shame” and the Attorney General called it “justice”
According to the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) ) It is reported that Li’s lawyer expressed anger at Li’s execution.
Lee’s lawyer Rus Friedman said in a statement, “He (Lee) was only 31 minutes after the Court of Appeal was forced by the federal government to clear the obstacles to the execution of the death penalty. The death penalty has been executed-the lawyer has not been notified, and there are still many motions pending”.
Friedman said that the federal government believes that it is appropriate to execute the death penalty during the epidemic, that the execution of the death penalty is appropriate when the lawyer is not on the scene, but insists on the execution when the judge and the victim’s family object to the execution The death penalty, these are all”shame”.”It is even more shameful that the government finally executed the death penalty in the middle of the night while hesitating and sleeping in the whole country. We hope that people across the country will be as angry as we are when we wake up.”
US Attorney General William Barr believes that the execution of Lee’s death sentence is”justice.” Barr said in a statement,”Today, Lee finally deserves the crime. The American people have made a careful choice to allow the death penalty for those extreme crimes. Today, justice is extended.”
Agent for the victim’s family Lawyer Baker Curus told CNN on the 14th that the whole family was”heartbroken” when he heard that Lee was executed,”the government prevented them from going to the scene, and they made every effort to be on the spot.”
CNN report screenshot.
According to reports, after Lee, the US federal government will also execute the death penalty on three death row prisoners in the near future.
On July 15, local time, Wesley Ira Purkey will be executed. He was accused of rape, murder, corpse separation, and abandonment of a 16-year-old girl in 2003 and was sentenced to death in Missouri. On July 17, Dustin Lee Honken will be executed. He was accused of shooting and killing five people in 2004, including a 6-year-old girl and a 10-year-old girl, before being sentenced to death. In mid-August, Keith Dwayne Nelson will be executed. He was accused of rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl in 2001 and sentenced to death.
The Associated Press pointed out that it is currently unknown whether the death sentences of these people can be carried out smoothly. Purkey’s lawyer said he had psychological problems and was therefore not suitable for execution. Legal experts believe that he may be able to avoid being executed.
There are still 62 death penalty prisoners awaiting execution in the federal government, and the controversy about the death penalty continues
According to the BBC, the controversy about the death penalty in the United States has always existed, history On several occasions, the death penalty was completely abolished, but in the end the death penalty was partially retained.
The United States Supreme Court abolished federal and state-level death sentences in 1972 and canceled all death sentences. In 1976, the Supreme Court resumed the death penalty in some states. In 1988, the death penalty at the federal level was also restored. At present, the death penalty is reserved at the federal level, military level, and 28 states.
Although the death penalty has been retained, the proportion of final executions is very small. According to the website of the US Death Penalty Information Center, at the state level, 22 people were executed in 2019. But at the federal level, since the death sentence of Louis Jones who kidnapped, raped and killed a 19-year-old soldier in 2003, it has not been executed for 17 years. Since 1988, only three cases have been executed.
According to statistics, there are currently 62 prisoners at the federal level in the United States awaiting execution. In the United States, there are 2,620 prisoners awaiting execution.
In July 2019, the United States Department of Justice announced that it would resume the execution of federal death penalty prisoners, which was strongly opposed by many human rights organizations. The re-execution of the death penalty at the federal level also caused controversy again.
“Stop executing the death penalty.” /Slate screenshot
The”USA Today” report pointed out that the United States Supreme Court supported the execution of Lee with a 5:4 vote, which in fact again reflected the differences in the death penalty within the Supreme Court. This is because the nine justices of the Supreme Court are exactly five conservatives and four liberals. The conservatives have always supported the death penalty, while the liberals have opposed the death penalty.
According to reports, this sentence has caused Justices Stephen Breyer and Russ Ginsberg to question again that the death penalty is unconstitutional. Breyer said,”The federal government’s decision to restart the execution of the death penalty highlights the growing urgency of controversy over whether the death penalty is constitutional.” Breyer believes that, taking into account the seriousness of the death penalty, to ensure that the person sentenced to death did indeed commit a crime, and they also received a comprehensive and fair procedure, they do not have to wait too long before being executed, these issues are crucial.”The court must also confirm that the method of execution is not inhumane.”
In fact, several death row inmates, including Li, have previously proposed that injecting pentobarbital to execute the death penalty violated their constitutional rights , Because this is a”cruel and unusual punishment”, other problems have appeared in the previous use process. However, the Federal Supreme Court believes that the injection of pentobarbital proposed by the government has become the “mainstream way” for executions in various states.
Associated Press pointed out that US President Trump has always supported the death penalty, so it is no accident that the federal government resumed execution. Some critics believe that the Trump administration’s reinstatement of the death penalty at this time is partly for political purposes.
Beijing News reporter Xie Lian
Editor Bai Shuang