United Kingdom

Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush ask Biden to commute sentences of EVERY death row inmate

A group of Democratic lawmakers led by 'Squad' members Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush has called on President Joe Biden to commute the sentences of all 49 federal death row inmates, as they slammed the execution spree that closed out Trump's presidency.

The group, also including Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, sent a letter to Biden on Friday in which they highlighted their 'grave concerns regarding the death penalty', which they branded 'cruel and heinous'.

The letter, signed by 35 lawmakers in total, urged Biden 'to take swift, decisive action' to commute the sentences of the people on federal death row, calling it a 'crucial first step in remedying this grave injustice'.

It came after Trump's administration carried out 13 executions in total, three of which were carried out in his final week in office. 

A group of Democratic lawmakers led by 'Squad' members Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush has called on President Joe Biden to commute the sentences of all 49 federal death row inmates

Bush claimed in a tweet that 'we must end federal executions for good', pictured

Biden (pictured above on Wednesday) said that as president, he would 'work to pass legislation to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level and incentivize' states to do the same

'By exercising your clemency power, you can ensure that there would be no one left on death row to kill,' the Democrats wrote in Friday's letter.

'Given the historic nature of your administration, this would be an unprecedented - but necessary - action to reverse systemic injustices and restore America's moral standing

'We believe that rebuilding the dignity of America requires that we recommit ourselves to the tradition of due process, mercy, and judicial clemency when it comes to matters related to the criminal legal system.'

'This moment demands a series of meaningful actions to ensure that no President can authorize the killing of Americans through the death penalty,' it continued. 

'This includes dismantling death row at FCC Terre Haute, and establishing clear executive guidelines prohibiting federal prosecutors from seeking the death penalty.'   

The letter, signed by 35 lawmakers, urged Biden 'to take swift, decisive action' to commute the sentences of death row inmates, calling it a 'crucial first step in remedying this grave injustice'

During his campaign, Biden said that as president, he would 'work to pass legislation to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level and incentivize' states to do the same. 

He claimed it is on his list of plans for criminal justice but has not yet commented on the topic since he took office.

'The President, as you know, has stated his opposition to the death penalty in the past,' his press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.

'He remains - that remains his view. I don't have anything more for you in terms of future actions or mechanisms, though.'

President Obama halted federal executions in 2015 but they were revived under Trump.

In July 2019, then Attorney General Bill Barr announced that the moratorium was ending after an almost two-decade hiatus.

Before this, there had been only three executions since 1963, all of which were in the early 2000s.

In 2020, the U.S. carried out ten executions, which was more civilian prisoners than all the states combined over the same period.

They included three federal inmates who were put to death just over a week ago: 'Womb raider' Lisa Montgomery; Corey Johnson, a Virginia man linked to seven murders; and Dustin Higgs, who was convicted for his role in the murder of three women.

'Womb raider' Lisa Montgomery was put to death last week at the end of Trump's spree

Corey Johnson, a Virginia man linked to seven murders; and Dustin Higgs, who was convicted for his role in the murder of three women were among those put to death under Trump

Trump had voiced his support for the death penalty long before he decided to run for president.

'Either it will be brought back swiftly, or our society will rot away,' Trump told Playboy magazine in 1990.

Yet Friday's three-page letter accused Trump of 'carnage and unrestrained violence' for the 13 executions that were carried out under his watch.

'We must end federal executions for good,' Congresswoman Bush added in a tweet Friday.

'The Obama administration paused executions, but Trump's reversal and ensuing killing spree proved that a moratorium is not enough.'

The letter calls for a commutation of the sentences, not a pardon, meaning the inmates' sentences would be reduced, but they would not be cleared of any charges or have to be released from prison.

If Biden chooses to take up the call, he could commute the sentences to life in prison.

The Democrats claimed that in order for the country to find 'accountability and healing,' it must 'first acknowledge the moral depravity of federal executions'.

'Like slavery and lynching did before it, the death penalty perpetuates cycles of trauma, violence and state-sanctioned murder in Black and brown communities,' it continued.

Of the prisoners currently on death row, 21 are white, 20 are black, seven are Latino and one is Asian.

The letter also called for the closure of death row at FCC Terre Haute in Indiana, pictured

The letter is the latest step in a series of actions from Democrat lawmakers eager to see an end to federal executions in the U.S.

On December 15, before Biden took office, Pressley sent him a letter in which she claimed that his 'historic election with record turnout represents a national mandate to make meaningful progress in reforming our unjust and inhumane criminal legal system.'

It came five days after the execution of Brandon Bernard and told Biden that 'with a stroke of a pen, you can stop all federal executions'.

Pressley had also proposed legislation to eliminate capital punishment in July 2019 when AG Barr first announced executions would be restarting.

And earlier in January, she joined with Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin to unveil further legislation that would seek to end federal capital punishment.

'State-sanctioned murder is not justice,' Pressley said.

It has placed focus on the issue as the Democratic Party takes complete control of Congress.

Yet, it is unclear if the legislation would garner support among House and Senate Republicans.

With the Senate at a 50-50 split with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie, it would need the full support of Democrats, if not bipartisan support to be passed.

LETTER FROM 35 DEMOCRATS CALLING ON BIDEN TO COMMUTE THE SENTENCE OF ALL DEATH ROW INMATES 

Dear President Biden,

We write to you today with grave concerns regarding the federal death penalty. As members of Congress, we stand ready to work with you on your commitment to rebuilding the dignity of America. 

We believe that rebuilding the dignity of America requires that we recommit ourselves to the tradition of due process, mercy, and judicial clemency when it comes to matters related to the criminal legal system. 

For this reason, we urge you to immediately commute the sentences of all those on death row.

Night after night in the final days of the Trump administration, the American people bore witness to the cruel and heinous practice of executions. Americans from all walks of life — entertainers, advocates, attorneys, public officials, athletes, academics — appealed to the moral conscience of judges and the President to save the lives of those on death row. To no avail. 

On January 12, 2021, Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row, became the latest victim of this barbaric practice. Her case has been a unique and sobering reminder of the need for immediate clemency. 

Reports indicate that Ms. Montgomery was a woman who faced immeasurable hardship and trauma. She suffered from psychosis, a brain injury, and was a victim of childhood abuse, assault, and sex trafficking. A federal court even ruled that Ms. Montgomery could not 'rationally understand the rationale for her execution.' 

This was a woman in desperate need of a government that cares for and protects the people among us who have the least. Instead, our system failed her, but we cannot afford to fail the many more like her who are now facing the same fate.

We appreciate your vocal opposition to the death penalty and urge you to take swift, decisive action. After referring to the death penalty as 'deeply troubling,' President Obama halted federal executions and commuted the sentences of two federal prisoners on death row. 

However, the Obama administration's reticence to commute more death sentences has allowed the Trump administration to reverse course and pursue a horrifying killing spree over the final seven months of his presidency. 

Commuting the death sentences of those on death row and ensuring that each person is provided with an adequate and unique re-sentencing process is a crucial first step in remedying this grave injustice.

The legacy President Trump left behind is one of carnage and unrestrained violence that must be rectified immediately. Beginning in July of 2020, the Trump administration oversaw a killing spree never before seen in American history. 

The Trump administration executed 13 people — more than any other previous administration in a century and a half. It is unprecedented for executions to occur during a transition period and even more so by a twice impeached President. 

This level of pain has never been seen nor felt before. This relentless violence occurred amid an extraordinary pandemic that has infected many on death row. In FCC Terre Haute, where many of these executions are occurring, 14 people on death row have contracted COVID-19, including two during the waning days of the current administration.

We must move our country towards accountability and healing. To do so, we must first acknowledge the moral depravity of federal executions. 

In total, 13 people have been killed by President Trump's cruel injustice system: Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Ira Purkey, Dustin Lee Honken, Lezmond Charles Mitchell, Keith Dwayne Nelson, William Emmett Lecroy, Jr., Christopher Andre Vialva, Orlando Cordia Hall, Brandon Bernard, Alfred Bourgeois, Lisa Montgomery, Cory Johnson, and Dustin Higgs. 

Because of these horrific actions by the Trump administration, we hope to advocate for a justice system that seeks to rehabilitate and restore rather than penalize and execute. 

The fact of the matter is that these death sentences are not about justice. They are about who has institutional power and who doesn't. Like slavery and lynching did before it, the death penalty perpetuates cycles of trauma, violence and state-sanctioned murder in Black and brown communities. 

We urge the Biden-Harris administration to correct these injustices using every tool available, including the extraordinary power to grant clemency. With the stroke of the pen, you can end the death penalty and establish a clear commitment to justice and equity.

Further, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. As President, you can exercise your executive clemency power by commuting the sentences of all those on death row and ensuring a fair re-sentencing process. 

This moment demands a series of meaningful actions to ensure that no President can authorize the killing of Americans through the death penalty. 

This includes dismantling death row at FCC Terre Haute, and establishing clear executive guidelines prohibiting federal prosecutors from seeking the death penalty. 

In addition to those steps, you can call on the U.S. Congress to pass H.R. 262, the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act, sponsored by Representative Ayanna Pressley and Senator Dick Durbin, which would end the death penalty once and for all. 

Until that legislation is law, it is incumbent upon the executive branch to end the barbaric practice of federal executions as quickly as possible.

 We can collectively save the lives of people all across America. We look forward to working with your administration to enact just and restorative policies that will meaningfully transform our criminal legal system for the better. 

By exercising your clemency power, you can ensure that there would be no one left on death row to kill. 

Given the historic nature of your administration, this would be an unprecedented — but necessary — action to reverse systemic injustices and restore America's moral standing.

Football news:

Cavani has returned to training and is likely to play against Crystal Palace
Fabio Capello, Juventus played Rugby against the Port. Only Ronaldo and Chiesa can make a difference in this squad
Neymar: I posted how I was recovering from my injury, and I didn't get any messages saying, Wow, what a professional. No
Ole Gunnar Solscher: The work of the judges is very difficult and without additional pressure. We have to make their decisions
Joan Laporta: I'm sure Messi won't stay at Barca if I don't win the election. He gives the club 30% of revenue
Trent had idolized Gerrard since he was a kid, and he was in a fairy tale: he got Steven's care and the captain's armband. The story of a great relationship
Hazard's recovery from the injury is delayed. He probably won't play against Atletico on March 7