The federal government surpasses the states in applying the death penalty

The Federal Government Surpasses The States In Applying The Death Penalty

Chicago – For the first time in history, the US federal government executed more people in a year than all the states that still have capital punishment, according to a report released Wednesday.

The administration of President Donald Trump resumed with force the executions at the federal level after a hiatus of 17 years, executing 10 inmates despite the fact that support for that punishment is decreasing. It is the highest annual figure under any presidency since 1800, according to the Death Penalty Information Center report.

States that still have capital punishment executed seven inmates in total in 2020 before some suspended those punishments amid the coronavirus pandemic. Last year there were 22 executions statewide.

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“We never saw anything like this. We never expect to see it. It may be a long time before something like this happens, ”said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Washington-based Center.

The center does not take sides in the debate around capital punishment, according to Dunham, but criticizes the way in which the states and the federal government handle the issue of executions, denouncing racial prejudice and lack of transparency, among other things. .

The Trump administration plans more executions before the transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden on January 20. Biden opposes capital punishment.

Among those to be executed is Lisa Montgomery, the only woman with that sentence. She was sentenced to death for strangling a 23-year-old pregnant woman in 2004 and then using a kitchen knife to remove the baby from her womb, according to authorities.

If she is executed on January 12, as scheduled, she will be the first woman to be executed by the federal government in about six decades. The last federal government execution is scheduled for January 15, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and five days before Biden’s inauguration.

Statewide there were three executions in Texas and one in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee, the report said.

The national government resumed executions of prisoners on July 14, executing Daniel Lewis Lee for killing a family in the 1990s, as part of a plot to create a white nation in the northwest of the country. It was the first execution by the federal government since 2003.

The report mentions a 2020 Gallup poll in which 43% of respondents said they oppose the death penalty. It is the highest level of opposition recorded by Gallup since 1966. While 55% said they were in favor, Dunham noted that most people have particular opinions and that many say they are in favor of death sentences in theory. but not in practice.

Historically, the federal government has not executed many people compared to the states. There have been a few hundred non-military executions since the founding of the country. Since colonial times, states have executed more than 15,000 people, according to specialists in this matter M. Watt Espy and John Ortiz Smykla.

Twenty-two states have abolished the death penalty and another 12 have it but do not execute inmates sentenced to capital punishment, according to the report.

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