Bass, Nadler Statement on DOJ Reinstating the Federal Death Penalty
“We are extremely concerned about Attorney General Barr’s announcement today that the Department of Justice will resume capital punishment and is scheduling the executions of five individuals. The death penalty is barbaric. Right now there are only 58 countries that retain the death penalty in active use, compared to 102 countries that have abolished it. Since 2003, the Justice Department had prudently abstained from conducting executions because of litigation focusing on the constitutionality of lethal injection procedures. Time and time again, we have seen how death sentences, reflecting racial bias and inadequate defense counsel, have been unjustly adjudicated and executions cruelly administered. Unfortunately, we have seen cases where people were erroneously convicted and the convictions were later overturned. There is always a possibility that someone falsely convicted could be put to death and we have to ensure that that does not happen.
“The Attorney General’s announcement, which was issued without prior notification to the courts or details to litigants, imperils the due process rights of those challenging their death sentences. We need a moratorium on the death penalty, and I will be seeking answers about the Administration’s abrupt decision."