Tell Congress: The Death Penalty is Wrong

The United States Congress

Rep. Ayanna Pressley has introduced H.R. 4052, legislation to abolish the federal death penalty. (Read more here.) Please join us in asking congress to support the bill by signing this petition and encouraging Congress to speak out against the upcoming federal executions in July and August of 2020.

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.


THE CASES:

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.

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.

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.

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To: The United States Congress
From: [Your Name]

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.​

Additionally, responding to ongoing mass shootings last year, the Trump Administration announced it will push for expedited executions for mass shooters who happen to survive their terror attacks.

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.