Liberal Democrats are wasting no time in bashing Attorney General Bill Barr over a Department of Justice press release Thursday announcing that the federal death penalty is back on.
“Attorney General William P. Barr has directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to adopt a proposed Addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol — clearing the way for the federal government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two-decade lapse, and bringing justice to victims of the most horrific crimes,” the department’s statement reads.
“The Attorney General has further directed the Acting Director of the BOP, Hugh Hurwitz, to schedule the executions of five death-row inmates convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the most vulnerable in our society—children and the elderly.”
Federal Government to Resume Capital Punishment After Nearly Two Decade Lapse https://t.co/GcVD08VOw8
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) July 25, 2019
Included among the five death-row inmates reportedly scheduled to be executed in December 2019 and January 2010 are:
- A white supremacist who “murdered a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl.” (Convicted in 1999)
- A man who “stabbed to death a 63-year-old grandmother and forced her nine-year-old granddaughter to sit beside her lifeless body for a 30 to 40-mile drive.” (Convicted in 2003)
- A man who “raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl, and then dismembered, burned, and dumped the young girl’s body in a septic pond.” (Convicted in 2003)
- A man who “emotionally tortured, sexually molested, and then beat to death his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter.” (Convicted in 2004)
- And a man who “shot and killed five people—two men who planned to testify against him and a single, working mother and her ten-year-old and six-year-old daughters.” (Convicted in 2004)
These are clearly not good people. The argument could be made, in fact, that they’re the worst of the worst. Yet despite the despicable nature of their horrendous crimes, liberal Democrats have rushed to their defense on the grounds that there’s already “enough violence in the world,” as 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders put it.
He’s not alone in feeling like this.
There’s enough violence in the world. The government shouldn’t add to it. When I am president, we will abolish the death penalty. https://t.co/otUrgpYQWK
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 25, 2019
This morning, the Department of Justice announced they would resume capital punishment. Let me be clear: capital punishment is immoral and deeply flawed. Too many innocent people have been put to death. We need a national moratorium on the death penalty, not a resurrection.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 25, 2019
Just when I think things can’t get worse, something like this happens. No one has been federally executed in the US in nearly two decades. The death penalty is cruel, inhumane, racist, and should not be used in civilized nations (or anywhere). https://t.co/oxoEPnoJT7
— Eliza Orlins (@eorlins) July 25, 2019
Naturally, this would be the place where the Trump administration would seek to prove its fealty to the rule of law. A healthy society should be working towards the end of the death penalty, not increasing its usage. Alas, America is being led by villains. https://t.co/PkKoLEe2Rc
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) July 25, 2019
Bill Barr and the Trump administration are bringing back the federal death penalty because that’s what fascist regimes do
— Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch) July 25, 2019
The #DeathPenalty is cruel & unusual punishment because it is applied in a racially discriminatory manner and because every time an innocent person is executed (which is too likely, based on historical data), the government is commiting murder.
— (((AlanRosenblatt))) (@DrDigiPol) July 25, 2019
The death penalty is a horrific stain on our country.
We already knew this, but Bill Barr is shameful. https://t.co/sktsGI2Ox5
— Kumar Rao (@KumarRaoNYC) July 25, 2019
To be fair, part of their concern lies with the legitimate dilemma of suspects being falsely convicted. Just this week a black inmate was released from a prison in Michigan after his alleged rape victim realized he’d never raped her.
“In 2017, a jury convicted [James Chad-Lewis] Clay of raping a teenager in an alley on Detroit’s east side 20 years earlier. He insists he’s innocent, but DNA found inside the victim matched Clay, leading to the guilty verdict,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
“When the victim testified, she didn’t recognize Clay from their teen years and said she never had consensual sex with him. Then, earlier this year, she was shown a picture of what Clay looked like when he was younger and recognized him as a young man she had dated when she was in high school. The two dated around the time she was raped and they had consensual sex, she said.”
Cases like this highlight the need for imprisoned inmates to have the time to prove their innocence. However, in the case of the five men whose executions Barr has scheduled, each has had between between 15 and 20 years to prove his innocence.
Moreover, all five men have already “exhausted their appellate and post-conviction remedies,” according to the DOJ.
“Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding,” Barr said in a statement. “The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”
Nevertheless, more notable liberal Democrats, including presidential candidates, were continuing to issue statements Thursday afternoon in opposition to Barr’s decision.
The decision could wind up becoming one of several central issues in the 2020 election, which isn’t good news for Democrats, given as a majority of Americans have and continue to support the death penalty.
Major polling organizations like Gallup have shown for decades that a majority of the American public approves of capital punishment.
— David REPUBLICAN Cain (@BennytheKite) May 2, 2019
— Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark) July 23, 2019
The death penalty’s back, now if President Trump gets mandatory photo ID to vote put through, I don’t see how anyone is going to beat him in 2020. These are things Americans have been begging for! #MAGA
— Free Speech No Exceptions (@50spent1) July 25, 2019
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