Crime: Judge halts scheduled execution of death row inmates in Terre Haute - - PressFrom - US
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Crime Judge halts scheduled execution of death row inmates in Terre Haute

23:11  21 november  2019
23:11  21 november  2019 Source:   indystar.com

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judge on Wednesday halted the executions of four federal prisoners that were scheduled William P. Barr announced that the government would resume executions of death row inmates after a be executed by lethal injection in December and January at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute , Ind.

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday halted the executions of four federal prisoners that were scheduled to begin next month In July, Attorney General William P. Barr announced that the government would resume executions of death row inmates after a hiatus of nearly two decades.

Federal courts have blocked the planned executions of four men on death row in the U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute. 

The executions would have taken place in December and January. 

News of the first federal executions since 2003 came with the announcement in July of a new execution protocol that mirrors those used in states like Texas, Georgia and Missouri. This would replace the three-drug cocktail used in past federal executions with a single drug called pentobarbital.

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A judge has blocked the scheduled executions of four federal death row inmates , effectively freezing the Trump In July, Attorney General Bill Barr announced plans to resume executions at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute , Ind. He suggested the practice had been allowed to languish for too long

Death Row Information. Scheduled Executions . Scheduled Executions .

But an order issued Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan says that four of the five men to be put to death had filed complaints against the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Prisons alleging that the execution protocol is "unlawful and unconstitutional" because it differs from state protocol. 

The men on death row: More about their crimes

A 1994 federal statute says federal executions must be carried out “in the manner prescribed by the law of the State in which the sentence is imposed,” and the inmates have asked for their executions to be tabled until their claims can be fully litigated.

The impacted inmates committed their crimes in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Iowa.

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Here are the inmates set for execution at U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute and their crimes, according to the Department of Justice press release Lee, a member of a white supremacist group, murdered an Arkansas family of three, including an eight-year-old girl. Lee’s execution is scheduled to occur on

Getty These are the federal death penalty inmates scheduled for execution . The executions would unfold at a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute , Indiana. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, “As of October 2018, 28 individuals identified as Native American were on death rows across

Chutkan wrote that after reviewing the cases, the court found that least one of inmates' claims has a "likelihood of success," and that the harm that the plaintiffs would suffer if the court did not grant relief "far outweighs any potential harm to the Defendants." 

"Finally, because the public is not served by short-circuiting legitimate judicial process, and is greatly served by attempting to ensure that the most serious punishment is imposed lawfully, this court finds that it is in the public interest to issue a preliminary injunction," Chutkan wrote.

The four inmates impacted by the ruling are Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Ira Purkey, Alfred Bourgeois and Dustin Lee Honken. Their executions were slated for Dec. 9, Dec. 13, Jan. 13 and Jan. 15 respectively. 

The Dec. 11 execution of Lezmond Mitchell was halted in a separate October decision so the court can review an ongoing appeal related to possible anti-Native American bias in his case. Mitchell, a member of the Navajo Nation convicted for crimes committed in Arizona, is the only Native American on federal death row. 

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An Arkansas judge issued an order on Friday that temporarily blocked the scheduled executions of eight convicted murderers after lawyers for the death Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen took the action after lawyers for the inmates argued on Wednesday that provisions keeping secret the

An Arkansas judge issued an order on Friday that temporarily blocked the scheduled executions of eight convicted murderers after lawyers for the death Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen took the action after lawyers for the inmates argued on Wednesday that provisions keeping secret the

In its opposition of the decision, the Department of Justice has argued that time is of the essence. Chutkan wrote that while the government does have a legitimate interest in the "finality of criminal proceedings," the fact that it took eight years to establish a new execution protocol undermines its arguments regarding the urgency of the executions. 

"The public interest is not served by executing individuals before they have had the

opportunity to avail themselves of legitimate procedures to challenge the legality of their

executions," she wrote. 

Court documents said the court has consolidated the cases and ordered the plaintiffs

to complete the necessary depositions by Feb. 29, and to amend their complaints by March 31.

Call IndyStar reporter Justin L. Mack at 317-444-6138. Follow him on Twitter: @justinlmack.

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This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Judge halts scheduled execution of death row inmates in Terre Haute

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