Federal Government To Resume Death Penalty Executions
It’s been 16 years since the federal government has carried out an execution.
President Obama called for a review of execution policy and procedures following a botched 2014 execution in Oklahoma. The Department of Justice has said that review is completed and executions will resume. A new procedure for lethal injection will be put in place that replaces the drugs previously used with a single drug – pentobarbital.
Federal Death Row
The federal government has executed three people since 1988. The most recent federal execution was in 2003, of a man convicted of kidnapping, rape, and murder. Although the federal government hasn’t executed anyone since 2003, the government has asked for the death penalty in certain cases. Federal courts have sentenced some defendants to death despite there being no active executions for some time.
There are currently 61 people on federal death row. This includes the man who shot nine church members in 2015 and the man who bombed the Boston Marathon.
Right now, five people are set to be executed, to take place in December and January.
Does Michigan Have the Death Penalty?
Michigan abolished the death penalty in 1847 – one of the first, if not the first, English-speaking government to abolish the death penalty. Nevertheless Michigan has one federal death row inmate.
Marvin Gabrion was sentenced to death in 1997 for murder. The murder victim was found in a lake in the Manistee National Forest, which is federal land. Gabrion was accused of killing the victim’s daughter, whose body was never found.
Gabrion is the first person to be sentenced to death by a federal court in a non-death penalty state since Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1977. He is not currently scheduled to be executed.
What Do Other States Do?
There are 30 states with the death penalty – however, the majority of those states do not carry out executions. There are eight states which plan to execute a person within the year.
Texas leads the pack with 108 executions since 2010. Texas has a total of 563 executions since 1977, the year the death penalty was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court after a ten-year pause.
Recently, the governor of California called for a moratorium on death penalty executions. California has 737 people on death row. The moratorium will last at least while the current governor is in office. The governor cited the reason that the death penalty disproportionately targeted people who are racial minorities, mentally disabled, or of a low socioeconomic class.
California has not executed anyone since 2006.
Sam Bernstein is a Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer.
ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.