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Dems Begin Push to End Federal Death Penalty

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Congressional Democrats are calling for an end to the death penalty for federal crimes, with Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois calling capital punishment racist.

Pressley and Durbin have plans to introduce a bill to end the use of the death penalty, according to a release on Durbin’s website.

“The death penalty is deeply flawed and disproportionately imposed on black and brown and low-income people in America,” Durbin said.

“State-sanctioned murder is not justice, and the death penalty, which kills black and brown people disproportionately, has absolutely no place in our society,” Pressley said.

“Ending the federal death penalty— which is as cruel as it is ineffective in deterring crime—is a racial justice issue and must come to an end. We must finally abolish this inhumane form of punishment and put an end to Donald Trump’s unprecedented killing spree,” Pressley said, referring to the 13 federal executions carried out in the final six months of Trump’s presidency. “I am grateful for the partnership of incoming Chairman Durbin and my colleagues in this effort.”

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In addition to Durbin and Pressley, the bill has support from 10 senators and more than 60 House members, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Pressley has said she wants President-elect Joe Biden to halt executions when he assumes office.

“President-elect @JoeBiden has the power to halt all federal executions and call for the re-sentencing of those on death row on Day 1. He must use that authority,” she tweeted.

“I’m calling on him to use that full authority with the stroke of a pen to halt all federal executions and save lives,” Pressley said, according to Wyoming Public Media. “He should also require the Department of Justice to no longer seek the death penalty for future cases, and permanently dismantle the Terre Haute facility where those federal executions take place.”

Biden “opposes the death penalty, now and in the future, and as president will work to end its use,” Biden transition spokesman T.J. Ducklo said, according to NPR.

Biden is the first president elected in the modern era who openly supports ending capital punishment, according to the Free Beacon.

Many who favor ending the death penalty focus on race as the reason it should be abolished.

Is the death penalty racist?
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“Capital punishment doesn’t deter violent crime, and its application is levied in a racially biased way, applied disproportionately to Black Americans. It’s time to make capital punishment a thing of the past,” Lauren-Brooke Eisen, director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said on Durbin’s website.

“The death penalty is a punishment with irrevocable consequences, broken beyond repair. Like the rest of the U.S. criminal legal system, it is rooted in racism dating back to slavery, Black codes, Jim Crow, and lynching, when the death penalty was used based on the race and status of people unrelated to the severity of the crime or harm done,” Kristina Roth, senior advocate for the Criminal Justice program at Amnesty International USA, also was quoted as saying in the release.

“Racial bias, sentencing of people with severe mental and intellectual disabilities, and flawed legal representation are pervasive through the federal system.”

On Saturday, Dustin John Higgs was executed for killing three women after he kidnapped them in 1996. Higgs, 48, who was black, was convicted of federal charges in 2000 but maintained his innocence until his death, according to CNN via a pool report.

The 13 federal executions during the Trump administration have come since July, when the Justice Department resumed federal executions after a 17-year hiatus.

Six of the 13 executed were black and one was Native American, according to NBC News. People of color have accounted for 43 percent of all executions since the death penalty was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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