Entries tagged with “2020 Federal Executions

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Intellectual Disability

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Mental Illness

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Race

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United States Supreme Court

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jan 18, 2021

This is Not Justice’ — Federal Execution Spree Ends with Planned Execution of African-American on Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday

An his­tor­i­cal­ly aber­rant six-month fed­er­al exe­cu­tion spree came to a close after mid­night on January 16, 2021 when an African-American man who was sched­uled to die on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s birth­day was put to death by pri­vate exe­cu­tion­ers hired in a secret no-bid contract.

Policy Issues

Costs

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Federal Death Penalty

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Aug 24, 2020

ACLU Lawsuit Seeks Information on Cost and Public Health Risks of Federal Executions

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and American Civil Liberties Foundation have filed a law­suit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) seek­ing a court order requir­ing the BOP to dis­close how much the fed­er­al government’s resump­tion of fed­er­al exe­cu­tions is cost­ing tax­pay­ers and what steps the gov­ern­ment has under­tak­en to assess and address the COVID-19 pub­lic health risks cre­at­ed by the exe­cu­tions. As the nation faces both dire pub­lic health and eco­nom­ic crises,” the law­suit says, the fed­er­al government’s actions pri­or­i­tiz­ing the use of American tax dol­lars on executions…

Executions

Executions Overview

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Federal Death Penalty

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Sep 22, 2020

ACLU: Documents Show Federal Executions Likely Caused Prison COVID-19 Outbreak

Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act show that the fed­er­al government’s choice to bring hun­dreds of peo­ple to the fed­er­al prison com­plex in Terre Haute, Indiana to car­ry out five exe­cu­tions in July and August in the midst of the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic like­ly caused a COVID-19 out­break that has already killed three and hos­pi­tal­ized others.

Death Row

Native Americans

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Federal Death Penalty

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Aug 20, 2020

As Courts Deny Execution Challenges, Native Americans Nationwide Call for Clemency for Federal Death-Row Prisoner Lezmond Mitchell

As fed­er­al courts in Washington, D.C. and California declined to halt the exe­cu­tion of Lezmond Mitchell, the National Congress of American Indians, thir­teen trib­al gov­ern­ments, and more than 230 mem­bers from more than 90 U.S. tribes joined Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez in ask­ing President Donald Trump to com­mute the death sen­tence of the sole Native American on fed­er­al death row. Native-American com­men­ta­tors also called on the pres­i­dent to spare Mitchell’s life, say­ing his exe­cu­tion against the wish­es and over the objec­tions of the Navajo Nation and the vic­tims’ fam­i­ly was…

Executions

Lethal Injection

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Federal Death Penalty

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Aug 26, 2020

Autopsy Results Provide Virtual Medical Certainty’ that Prisoners will Experience Excruciating Pain’ During Federal Executions

As the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment began to car­ry out the sec­ond round of exe­cu­tions it has sched­uled for 2020, autop­sy results from the first round of exe­cu­tions in July sug­gest to a vir­tu­al med­ical cer­tain­ty” that fed­er­al death-row pris­on­ers will expe­ri­ence excru­ci­at­ing pain” while they are being put to death by lethal injec­tion with pentobarbital.

Policy Issues

Victims' Families

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Lethal Injection

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jul 13, 2020

Chaos Surrounds Attempts to Resume Federal Executions

As the U.S. Department of Justice seeks to resume fed­er­al exe­cu­tions after a 17-year hia­tus, the government’s rushed time­frame, the ongo­ing COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, and unre­solved issues involv­ing the lethal-injec­tion pro­to­col, and the vic­tims’ family’s rights have com­bined with alleged con­sti­tu­tion­al vio­la­tions in the cas­es of the three pris­on­ers slat­ed for exe­cu­tion this week to pro­duce a chaot­ic whirl­wind of last-minute litigation.

Facts & Research

United States Supreme Court

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jul 17, 2020

Federal Government Carries Out Third Execution in One Week, As Challenges to Execution Protocol Fail

The United States gov­ern­ment car­ried out its third exe­cu­tion in four days on July 17, 2020, exe­cut­ing Dustin Honken (pic­tured). The week’s exe­cu­tions dou­bled the num­ber of pris­on­ers the gov­ern­ment has put to death since Congress reau­tho­rized the fed­er­al death penal­ty in 1988.

Executions

Federal Death Penalty

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Sep 23, 2020

Federal Government Conducts Sixth and Seventh Executions Amid Continuing Litigation Over COVID-19 and the Legality of Its Execution Protocol

The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment con­duct­ed its sixth and sev­enth exe­cu­tions in ten weeks on September 22 and 24, putting William Emmett LeCroy (pic­tured) and Christopher Vialva to death amid con­tin­u­ing chal­lenges to the fed­er­al exe­cu­tion pro­to­col and to car­ry­ing out exe­cu­tions dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. As the fed­er­al appeal courts set aside LeCroy’s exe­cu­tion chal­lenges, Vialva’s law­suit chal­leng­ing the legal­i­ty of the fed­er­al exe­cu­tion pro­to­col remained pend­ing in the U.S. Supreme Court. After the Court denied Vialva’s stay appli­ca­tion and peti­tion for review, his exe­cu­tion moved for­ward on September 24.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jul 14, 2020

Federal Government Ends Death Penalty Hiatus With Rushed Early-Morning Execution of Daniel Lee

The U.S. fed­er­al gov­ern­ment end­ed its 17-year hia­tus between exe­cu­tions on July 14, 2020, putting Daniel Lewis Lee (pic­tured) to death moments after overnight rul­ings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit vacat­ed pri­or court orders that had placed the exe­cu­tion on hold. Two more exe­cu­tions are sched­uled this week, with a fourth set for August.

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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United States Supreme Court

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jan 14, 2021

Federal Government Executes Corey Johnson, Who was Likely Intellectually Disabled, Without Any Judicial Review of His Eligibility for the Death Penalty

For the sec­ond time in less than five weeks, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has exe­cut­ed a death-row pris­on­er who like­ly was intel­lec­tu­al­ly dis­abled, with­out afford­ing him judi­cial review to deter­mine his eli­gi­bil­i­ty for the death penal­ty. Corey Johnson (pic­tured) was pro­nounced dead from lethal injec­tion at 11:34 p.m. on January 14, 2021, the 12th fed­er­al pris­on­er exe­cut­ed in six months and the fifth in the tran­si­tion peri­od between Donald Trump’s defeat in the November 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and the sched­uled inau­gu­ra­tion of Joseph R. Biden on January 202021.

Executions

Native Americans

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Federal Death Penalty

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Aug 27, 2020

Ignoring Tribal Sovereignty, Federal Government Executes Native American Death-Row Prisoner Lezmond Mitchell

Over the objec­tions of Native American lead­ers across the coun­try, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment on August 26, 2020 exe­cut­ed Lezmond Mitchell (pic­tured), the sole Native-American pris­on­er on fed­er­al death row. Mitchell, a Navajo cit­i­zen, became the first Native American exe­cut­ed by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment for a crime com­mit­ted against a mem­ber of his own tribe on trib­al lands.

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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International

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jul 11, 2022

In New Report, Amnesty International Urges President Biden to End the Federal Death Penalty and Commute All Federal Death Sentences

A new report by the human rights orga­ni­za­tion Amnesty International urges President Joe Biden to act upon his cam­paign pledge to work to abol­ish the death penal­ty by exer­cis­ing his con­sti­tu­tion­al author­i­ty to com­mute the sen­tences of all fed­er­al death row prisoners.

Policy Issues

Juveniles

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Race

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Clemency

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Upcoming Executions

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Federal Death Penalty

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Dec 08, 2020

Jurors and Appellate Prosecutor Say Teen Offender Brandon Bernard Should Not be Executed

As the December 10, 2020 exe­cu­tion date of fed­er­al death-row pris­on­er Brandon Bernard (pic­tured with his fam­i­ly) approached, jurors and a for­mer pros­e­cu­tor in his case came for­ward say­ing that the teen offender’s life should be spared. Bernard, who was 18 years old at the time of the offense, became the youngest offend­er exe­cut­ed by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in at least 68 years.

Facts & Research

United States Supreme Court

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jan 29, 2021

Legitimacy and the Rule of Law: Supreme Court’s Institutional Standing Damaged by Rulings During Federal Execution Spree

From July 14, 2020 through January 16, 2021, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment exe­cut­ed thir­teen pris­on­ers. It was the most con­sec­u­tive exe­cu­tions by a sin­gle juris­dic­tion since the U.S. death penal­ty resumed in the 1970s and the longest peri­od of time in which an exe­cu­tion spree by any gov­ern­ment went unabat­ed while no oth­er juris­dic­tion exe­cut­ed anyone.

Executions

Executions Overview

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Lethal Injection

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Federal Death Penalty

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Aug 28, 2020

News Brief — Federal Government Executes Keith Nelson

NEWS (8/​28/​20) — The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment exe­cut­ed Keith Nelson on August 28. He was the fifth fed­er­al pris­on­er to be exe­cut­ed in 2020.

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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Upcoming Executions

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Federal Death Penalty

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Aug 02, 2020

NEWS BRIEF — Federal Government, Texas Set New Execution Dates

As July 2020 came to a close, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment issued two more notices of exe­cu­tion and a coun­ty judge in Texas report­ed­ly issued a new death war­rant for a death-row pris­on­er whose pre­vi­ous­ly sched­uled exe­cu­tion had been stayed.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Intellectual Disability

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Mental Illness

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Race

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Religion

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jul 10, 2020

Op-Eds Highlight Disparities in Federal Death Penalty, as 1,000 Faith Leaders and the European Union Urge Justice Department to Halt Executions

As the sched­uled July 13, 2020 date for the first fed­er­al exe­cu­tions in 17 years approach­es, faith lead­ers, diplo­mats, and legal experts have asked the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to call them off. 1,000 faith lead­ers from across the coun­try have urged President Trump and Attorney General Barr to halt the exe­cu­tions. They are joined by the European Union, which on July 10 also issued a state­ment strong­ly oppos­ing the resump­tion of fed­er­al exe­cu­tions. Complementing their efforts, two recent op-eds by death-penal­ty experts describe a fed­er­al death-penal­ty sys­tem that, they say, is…

Policy Issues

Secrecy

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Lethal Injection

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jan 08, 2021

ProPublica Investigation Reveals Irregularities in Federal Executions

The fed­er­al government’s his­tor­i­cal­ly aber­rant exe­cu­tion spree has been fraught with irreg­u­lar­i­ties and has tram­pled over an array of bar­ri­ers, both legal and prac­ti­cal,” accord­ing to an inves­tiga­tive report by the non-prof­it news orga­ni­za­tion, ProPublica.

Policy Issues

Juveniles

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Representation

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Upcoming Executions

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Federal Death Penalty

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Sep 18, 2020

Psychologist Raises Concerns About Upcoming Federal Execution for Crimes Committed as a Teenager

The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment intends to exe­cute Christopher Vialva (pic­tured) on September 24, 2020, the first time in near­ly 70 years it will have put any teenage offend­er to death. But accord­ing to a promi­nent cog­ni­tive neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist, the deci­sion to exe­cute Vialva is out of step with what sci­ence now knows about the work­ings of the ado­les­cent brain.

Facts & Research

United States Supreme Court

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Lethal Injection

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jun 25, 2020

Regulatory Experts Ask Supreme Court to Overturn Ruling Lifting Injunction on Federal Executions

A group of 15 admin­is­tra­tive law experts have filed an ami­cus curi­ae brief in sup­port of death-row pris­on­ers seek­ing U.S. Supreme Court review of a chal­lenge to the fed­er­al government’s pro­posed exe­cu­tion pro­to­col. The brief was filed June 19, 2020 in Roane v. Barr, a case brought by fed­er­al death-row pris­on­ers ask­ing the Court to over­turn an appel­late court’s rul­ing that lift­ed an injunc­tion on fed­er­al exe­cu­tions. According to the ami­cus brief, This case presents a tri­fec­ta of clas­sic admin­is­tra­tive-law prob­lems: The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) (1) mis­in­ter­pret­ed a statute,…

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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United States Supreme Court

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jul 16, 2020

U.S. Government Hurriedly Executes Wesley Purkey After Overnight Rulings by U.S. Supreme Court Vacate Two Injunctions and a Stay of Execution

For the sec­ond time in three days, the United States gov­ern­ment has exe­cut­ed a pris­on­er after a 5 – 4 overnight deci­sion of the U.S. Supreme Court short-cir­cuit­ed judi­cial review of sig­nif­i­cant legal claims and after the orig­i­nal death war­rant set­ting his exe­cu­tion date had expired.

Facts & Research

United States Supreme Court

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Lethal Injection

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jun 29, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Execution Protocol Case, Removing Barrier to Resumption of Federal Executions

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a chal­lenge to the fed­er­al exe­cu­tion pro­to­col, remov­ing a poten­tial major obsta­cle to the Department of Justices (DOJ) plan to resume fed­er­al exe­cu­tions after a 17-year hia­tus. The deci­sion leaves in place an April 2020 rul­ing by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that lift­ed an injunc­tion that had halt­ed fed­er­al exe­cu­tions. The Department has sched­uled four exe­cu­tions in July and August.

State & Federal Info

Federal Death Penalty

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Feb 01, 2021

Under Court Order Requiring Protective Measures, Federal Bureau of Prisons Takes No Action After Media Witnesses to Executions Contract COVID-19

Despite being under fed­er­al court order to under­take pro­tec­tive mea­sures against the spread of COVID-19, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) took no action after being alert­ed that two reporters who had been media wit­ness­es to the fed­er­al exe­cu­tions at the Federal Correctional Complex at Terre Haute, Indiana in January 2021 had con­tract­ed COVID-19.

Policy Issues

Victims' Families

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Executions Overview

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jul 27, 2020

Victims’ Family Says They Were Retraumatized by Government’s Conduct During Federal Executions

When Attorney General William Barr announced in July 2019 that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment planned to resume fed­er­al exe­cu­tions by putting to death Daniel Lewis Lee, the Department of Justice press release announc­ing the death war­rants trum­pet­ed that we owe it to the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies to car­ry for­ward the sen­tence imposed by our jus­tice sys­tem.” But the fam­i­ly of Nancy Mueller (pic­tured) and her eight-year-old daugh­ter Sarah Powell — mur­der vic­tims in Lee’s case — had long opposed his exe­cu­tion. The Department of Justice did not con­sult them in…

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Religion

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jul 15, 2020

Wesley Purkey Execution Temporarily Halted as Challenges Pending on Mental Competency, Health Danger to Religious Advisor, and Ineffective Representation

Lawyers for Wesley Purkey (pic­tured), the sec­ond of three fed­er­al death-row pris­on­ers sched­uled to be exe­cut­ed dur­ing the week of July 13, are seek­ing to halt his exe­cu­tion, argu­ing that men­tal ill­ness and demen­tia have left him men­tal­ly incom­pe­tent. As Purkey chal­lenges the con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of his exe­cu­tion, his spir­i­tu­al advi­sor, Rev. Dale Hartkemeyer, is seek­ing to move back the exe­cu­tion until the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic sub­sides. Hartkemeyer’s law­suit asserts that con­duct­ing the exe­cu­tion dur­ing the pan­dem­ic infringes on his rights as an exe­cu­tion wit­ness by forc­ing him to either betray his…

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Representation

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Victims' Families

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Upcoming Executions

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jun 16, 2020

With Litigation Pending in U.S. Supreme Court, Federal Government Issues Four Death Warrants

With a peti­tion for review pend­ing before the U.S. Supreme Court on the legal­i­ty and con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of the fed­er­al exe­cu­tion pro­to­col, U.S. Attorney General William Barr on June 15, 2020 set exe­cu­tion dates for four fed­er­al death-row pris­on­ers, includ­ing three who are involved in the pend­ing case. The war­rants sched­uled three exe­cu­tions over a five-day peri­od in July and a fourth exe­cu­tion in late August. No fed­er­al exe­cu­tions have been car­ried out since 2003, and the five exe­cu­tion dates that had been set for December 2019 and January 2020 were…