Tell Congress: The Death Penalty is Wrong
The United States Congress
UPDATE: July 16, 2020: Evidence came to light after the July 13, 2020 execution of Daniel Lee that the campaign to reelect Donald Trump has guided the strategy and timing of this spate of federal executions. Read the Terre Haute Tribune Star report.
Background: After a failed attempt in 2019, the Trump Administration has once again announced they will resume federal executions after a 16 year hiatus, having scheduled 4 execution dates this summer: July 13, July 15, July 17 and August 28. (see below for more info on each case)
Additionally, responding to ongoing mass shootings, the Trump Administration announced last year that it will push for expedited executions for mass shooters who happen to survive their terror attacks.
Add your name to the petition to tell Congress and send a signal to the administration: The death penalty is not an effective tool to stop crime. Government makes mistakes, the criminal justice system is fraught with disparity and unfairness, prison workers should not be forced to take on the burden of killing defenseless prisoners once let alone at the rapid pace of the current federal execution schedule, and it is a cruel hoax to suggest that executions provide healing to murder victim family members.
Besides the use of the federal death penalty being an affront to human rights and criminal justice, there are other factors surrounding each case:
Daniel Lee, scheduled for execution on July 13 for the murder of William Mueller, Nancy Mueller, and Sarah Powell - Not only have two federal judges, both appointed by Republican presidents, found on two different grounds that Mr. Lee’s death sentence was unfairly obtained and should be invalidated, but the victims’ family all oppose the execution and believe a life sentence is appropriate. UPDATE: This execution was carried out 16 hours after it was scheduled, without a valid death warrant, and after multiple appeals failed, and after Lee was left strapped to the execution gurney for more than four hours.
Wes Purkey, scheduled for execution on July 15 for the murder of Jennifer Long - The Eighth Amendment prohibits executing someone who lacks a rational understanding of the basis for his execution, and a pending lawsuit argues that executing Mr. Purkey would be unconstitutional - because he suffers from schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and a lifetime of trauma which have all left Wes unable to comprehend why the federal government plans to execute him. UPDATE: This execution was carried out 16 hours after it was scheduled, without a valid death warrant, and after multiple appeals failed.
Dustin Honken, scheduled for execution on July 17 for the murder of Kandi Duncan and Amber Duncan - Mr. Honken's death sentence was imposed for murders committed in the state of Iowa, which abolished the death penalty in 1965, and which could have prosecuted him in state court. Additionally, his trial and sentencing were plagued by misconduct and the ineffectiveness of counsel, who failed to adequately inform the jury of his severely dysfunctional background or his mental health problems.
Keith Nelson, scheduled for execution on August 28 for the murder of Pamela Butler - Mr. Nelson's case has issues of ineffective counsel which warrants a case review in court.
The United States Congress
From: [Your Name]
After a failed attempt in 2019, the Trump Administration resumed federal executions after a 17 year hiatus, on July 13, July 15, and July 17. Another is scheduled on August 28.
Additionally, responding to ongoing mass shootings in 2018, the Trump Administration announced in 2019 that it will push for expedited executions for mass shooters who happen to survive their terror attacks.
Following the July 14th, 2020 execution of Daniel Lee, the campaign to re-elect the president e-mailed it's supporters to tout Donald Trump's toughness and challenge his opponent to justify opposition to capital punishment. There can now be no doubt that the timing of this spate of executions is political in motivation. This cannot be allowed and should be investigated.
We are writing to urge you to abolish the federal death penalty in the United States, by supporting H.R. 4052. Additionally, please help us urge the Attorney General to withdraw any pending federal execution dates and find ways to encourage the President to commute all federal death sentences to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
Our nation is strong enough and smart enough that it can hold dangerous offenders accountable and be safe from them without executions. We do that every day in the vast majority of homicide cases. The death penalty is not an effective tool to stop crime. Government makes mistakes, the criminal justice system is fraught with disparity and unfairness, prison workers should not be forced to take on the burden of killing defenseless prisoners once, let alone at the rapid pace of the current federal execution schedule, and it is a cruel hoax to suggest that executions provide healing to murder victim family members. We can and must do better for the families left behind in the wake of violence.
Thank you for your time and attention to this serious matter.