Justice Dept. Pauses Federal Executions, Reversing Trump Policy

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Politics|Merrick Garland pauses national executions a twelvemonth aft his predecessor resumed them.


Mr. Garland’s ruling reversed the Trump administration’s determination  to resume national  executions.
Credit...Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock

Katie Benner

  • July 1, 2021

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland connected Thursday imposed a moratorium connected national executions pending a reappraisal of the Justice Department’s policies and procedures, reversing the Trump administration’s determination to resume executions of national decease enactment inmates past twelvemonth aft a astir two-decade hiatus.

“The Department of Justice indispensable guarantee that everyone successful the national transgression justness strategy is not lone afforded the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States, but is besides treated reasonably and humanely,” Mr. Garland said successful a memo to Justice Department leaders. “That work has peculiar unit successful superior cases.”

Mr. Garland said successful his memo that the lawman lawyer general, Lisa O. Monaco, would supervise a reappraisal of Justice Department policies related to national executions that were implemented by erstwhile Attorney General William P. Barr. He asked that respective of the department’s divisions, including the Bureau of Prisons, the transgression part and the civilian rights division, participate, on with different national agencies and extracurricular advocacy groups.

After 17 years without executions, the Justice Department nether Mr. Barr began to execute national decease enactment inmates past summer. He argued that the Justice Department nether some parties had sought the decease punishment and that the authorities owed “the victims and their families to transportation guardant the condemnation imposed by our justness system.”

The Trump medication yet executed 13 people, much than 3 times the fig of radical enactment to decease by the national authorities successful the erstwhile six decades.

Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, said President Biden approved of Mr. Garland’s decision.

“As the president has made clear, helium has important concerns astir the decease punishment and however it is implemented, and helium believes the Department of Justice should instrumentality to its anterior signifier of not carrying retired executions,” Mr. Bates said.

As a candidate, Mr. Biden said that helium would enactment to abolish national executions and incentivize states to travel suit.

The Supreme Court besides said successful March that it would review an appeals court’s decision to overturn the decease condemnation of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to decease for his relation successful the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Should the Biden medication retreat its enactment for the decease punishment against Mr. Tsarnaev, the Supreme Court lawsuit would go moot.

Mr. Garland has asked the section to reappraisal policies implemented successful the past 2 years that paved the mode to restart national executions.

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