The Trump administration appealed to the Supreme Court late Dec. 2 after an appeals court panel rejected plans to resume federal executions.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit panel declined to overturn a decision by a federal district judge who recently ruled that the Department of Justices plan to execute four convicted murderers with a lethal injection of pentobarbital appeared to violate the Federal Death Penalty Act.
“Plaintiffs have clearly shown that, absent injunctive relief, they will suffer the irreparable harm of being executed under a potentially unlawful procedure before their claims can be fully adjudicated,” Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, an Obama-appointee, wrote in the ruling.
Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed the appeal, which named Attorney General William Barr and a host of other officials, including Bureau of Prisons Assistant Director Nicole English, as applicants in the case.
Francisco argued against Chutkans view that the Federal Death Penalty Act not only requires the federal government to carry out executions in the same manner as the law of the state in which the sentence was imposed but also that the government needed to comply with all “additional procedural details” of the States execution protocol.
“The district courts holding is meritless. For virtually the entire history of the United States, beginning with the Crimes Act of 1790, federal statutory references to the manner of imposing the death penalty have been understood to refer only to the mode of execution,'” Francisco wrote (pdf).
“Under the courts reasoning, a State could effectively veto a federal execution simply by making unavailable state officials or resources that are required by state law for the execution. Even an otherwise-cooperative State could prevent a federal execution by declining to disclose certain execution procedures or drug sources,” he added.
Francisco said the pending executions of the four murderers, each of whom killed at least one child, should be carried out in a timely manner.
The plaintiffs charge that they shouldnt be executed with the pentobarbital injection doesnt make sense because the lethal cocktail mix used by some states has been acknowledged as causing greater pain, Francisco said.
“The balance of equities thus militates strongly in favor of setting aside the order below and allowing the executions to proceed as scheduled, as this Court has summariRead More – Source