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Conservative group denounces Trump admin plan to resume federal executions

Death Penalty
A botched execution in Oklahoma on April 29, 2014 has reignited controversies over the death penalty. |

A conservative organization opposed to the death penalty denounced the recent decision by the Trump administration to resume capital punishment.

The group Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty sent out an email to supporters last Thursday expressing opposition to the administration’s decision.

CCADP National Manager Hannah Cox said in the emailed statement that the decision “goes against the trend we have seen in states across the nation, where executions and sentences are at historic lows.”

“A growing number of conservative state lawmakers are driving that trend because they realize that capital punishment goes against their principles of valuing life, fiscal responsibility and limited government, and that the death penalty does nothing to make the public safer,” stated Cox.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also denounced the move in a statement released last week by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

“I am deeply concerned by the announcement by the United States Justice Department that it will once again turn, after many years, to the death penalty as a form of punishment, and urge instead that these federal officials be moved by God's love, which is stronger than death, and abandon the announced plans for executions,” stated USCCB, as reported by Catholic News Service.

Progressive evangelical leader Shane Claiborne also took issue with the decision, retweeting a statement by noted anti-death penalty activist Sister Helene Prejean, who called it "a rush to kill." 

"It is disheartening that the administration has chosen to follow the death road, when the life road calls us to work for justice for all," read the Prejean statement in part. 

Last Thursday, the United States Department of Justice announced that Attorney General William P. Barr had directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of five death-row inmates found guilty of murdering children.

The first of the scheduled executions will take place on Dec. 9, with the other four being scheduled later in December and in January of next year.

The first individual scheduled for execution is Daniel Lewis Lee, an avowed white supremacist who murdered a family of three, which included an eight-year-old girl.

The other four death-row inmates scheduled for execution are Lezmond Mitchell, who murdered a 63-year-old grandmother and her nine-year-old granddaughter; Wesley Ira Purkey, who raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl; Alfred Bourgeois, who tortured and murdered his two-year-old daughter; and Dustin Lee Honken, who shot five people to death, among them two girls aged 10 and 6.

“Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding,” stated Attorney General Barr.

“The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

In the past, the federal government has rarely enacted capital punishment. The last time was in 2003 when Louis Jones was executed for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a female soldier in 1995, according to the Associated Press. 

While in office, President Barack Obama commuted the death sentences of two inmates to life imprisonment and while he made no effort to eliminate the federal death penalty, he did not sign any new death warrants, according to CNN. 

30 states allow for the death penalty, with Texas leading the nation in most executions performed since 2010, over 100 prisoners from then to the present, also noted the AP. 

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