Entries tagged with “Merrick Garland

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Race

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Federal Death Penalty

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Feb 25, 2021

Attorney General Nominee Merrick Garland Expresses Concerns About Death Penalty in Senate Confirmation Hearing

Expressing con­cerns about wrong­ful con­vic­tions, racial­ly dis­parate impact, and arbi­trari­ness, Attorney General nom­i­nee Merrick Garland (pic­tured) told the Senate Judiciary Committee dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing on February 22, 2021 that the death penal­ty has giv­en him great pause.” Garland said that he expect[s] that the President will be giv­ing direc­tion” on the fed­er­al death-penal­ty pol­i­cy, and that it was not at all unlike­ly” that the Department of Justice would impose a mora­to­ri­um on the fed­er­al death penalty.

Jan 19, 2024

Department of Justice Decides Against Seeking Federal Death Penalty in Colorado Club Q Mass Shooting

On January 16, 2024, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that pros­e­cu­tors reached a plea deal with Anderson Aldrich, the indi­vid­ual respon­si­ble for killing five and wound­ing dozens of oth­ers in the November 19, 2022, shoot­ing of Colorado’s Club Q, an LGBTQ+ bar in Colorado Springs. The United States Attorney’s Office alleges that Aldrich com­mit­ted this attack because of actu­al or per­ceived sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­ti­ty of any per­son.” Aldrich will plead guilty to fifty fed­er­al hate crime charges and twen­ty-four firearm vio­la­tion charges in exchange for…

Executions

Executions Overview

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jul 06, 2021

Department of Justice Formally Pauses Federal Executions to Review Trump Death-Penalty Regulations

In a mem­o­ran­dum that left to Congress the task of address­ing sys­temic ques­tions of arbi­trari­ness, racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, and wrong­ful con­vic­tions affect­ing the admin­is­tra­tion of the fed­er­al death penal­ty, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland (pic­tured) issued a direc­tive for­mal­ly paus­ing fed­er­al exe­cu­tions while the Department of Justice (DOJ) under­takes a review of exec­u­tive branch poli­cies adopt­ed in the last two years of the Trump administration.

State & Federal Info

Federal Death Penalty

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Jul 13, 2021

Editorial Boards Say Moratorium to Study Execution Practices is Not Enough, Biden Should Commute Federal Death Row

Major U.S. edi­to­r­i­al writ­ers have crit­i­cized the Biden administration’s June 30, 2021 announce­ment of a tem­po­rary mora­to­ri­um on exe­cu­tions while the Department of Justice reviews Trump admin­is­tra­tion changes to U.S. exe­cu­tion prac­tices, say­ing that the pause for a lim­it­ed pol­i­cy review fails to ful­fill the President’s cam­paign pledge to work to end the fed­er­al death penalty.

Facts & Research

Religion

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New Voices

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Federal Death Penalty

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Apr 12, 2023

EDITORIALS: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Calls on the Justice Department to Drop the Death Penalty’ in Synagogue Shooting

On April 9, 2023, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called upon Attorney General Merrick Garland to with­draw the government’s pur­suit of the death penal­ty and accept a plea deal for a manda­to­ry life sen­tence in the mass shoot­ing at a syn­a­gogue in Pittsburgh in 2018. The edi­tors not­ed that seek­ing a death sen­tence: would, in effect, re-enact the worst case of anti-Semitic vio­lence in U.S. his­to­ry through wit­ness tes­ti­mo­ny, media cov­er­age and appeals that could con­tin­ue for up to 20 years.” The tri­al is sched­uled to begin soon with jury selec­tion on…

State & Federal Info

Federal Death Penalty

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Mar 27, 2024

Federal Appellate Court Ruling Requires Investigation into Jury Bias in Boston Marathon Case

On March 21, 2024, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the judge who presided over Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s (pic­tured) tri­al to inves­ti­gate his defense attor­neys’ claims of juror bias and deter­mine whether Mr. Tsarnaev’s death sen­tence should be over­turned because of this bias. In a 2 – 1 deci­sion, the 1st Circuit declined defense attor­ney requests to over­turn Mr. Tsarnaev’s death sen­tence for his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bomb­ing but found that the tri­al judge fell short of what was con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly required” in his inves­ti­ga­tion of poten­tial jury…

Facts & Research

Sentencing Data

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Federal Death Penalty

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Mar 22, 2023

Federal Government Announces Withdrawal of Intent to Seek Death in North Dakota Case

On March 14, 2023, at the direc­tion of Attorney General Merrick Garland (pic­tured), the U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota with­drew the notice of intent to seek a death sen­tence for Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr., who had been con­vict­ed in 2006 of the 2003 kid­nap­ping and killing of col­lege stu­dent Dru Sjodin. Rodriguez had orig­i­nal­ly been sen­tenced to death in 2007, but U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson reversed the death sen­tence because of mis­lead­ing tes­ti­mo­ny pre­sent­ed at tri­al from the coro­ner and fail­ures of defense coun­sel to explore…

State & Federal Info

Federal Death Penalty

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Mar 13, 2023

Federal Jury Returns a Life Verdict in New York for Sayfullo Saipov

On March 13, 2023, a jury in the fed­er­al death penal­ty pros­e­cu­tion of Sayfullo Saipov in New York City con­clud­ed its delib­er­a­tions with­out com­ing to a unan­i­mous deci­sion regard­ing sen­tenc­ing. As a result, Saipov will be sen­tenced to life in prison with­out parole. On January 26, the jury had unan­i­mous­ly found the defen­dant guilty of mur­der­ing eight peo­ple in 2017 by delib­er­ate­ly ram­ming a truck onto a crowd­ed Manhattan bike path. Neither Saipov nor his attor­neys con­test­ed his involve­ment in the crime.

Executions

Lethal Injection

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Federal Death Penalty

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Dec 21, 2021

House Committee Asks Justice Department Its Plans on Resuming Executions, Purchasing Execution Drugs

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform has sent a let­ter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland seek­ing infor­ma­tion on the Department of Justice’s death penal­ty prac­tices and poli­cies, includ­ing whether DOJ plans to resume fed­er­al exe­cu­tions and to obtain new sup­plies of the drug pen­to­bar­bi­tal to car­ry out addi­tion­al executions.

State & Federal Info

Federal Death Penalty

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Oct 23, 2023

In New Podcast, Rush to Kill Documents 6‑Month Federal Execution Spree Under President Donald Trump’s Administration

In July 2020, President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice, under the direc­tion of Attorney General Bill Barr, resumed fed­er­al exe­cu­tions for the first time in 17 years. Over the course of the fol­low­ing six months, 13 fed­er­al death row pris­on­ers were exe­cut­ed. During those six months, the WFIU News team was grant­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to report on and wit­ness all 13 exe­cu­tions at United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute in Indiana. In the time since these exe­cu­tions, the WFIU News team col­lect­ed doc­u­ments and inter­viewed those con­nect­ed to every fed­er­al execution…

Executions

Federal Death Penalty

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Oct 06, 2023

New Details Emerge Surrounding Federal Executions Under Trump Administration

A recent arti­cle by Associated Press jour­nal­ist Michael Tarm reports new details about the thir­teen fed­er­al exe­cu­tions that took place in 20192020, includ­ing last-minute clemen­cy appeals for death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers like Brandon Bernard. Mr. Tarm wit­nessed ten of the exe­cu­tions and spoke with a num­ber of indi­vid­u­als who were involved in the process for his sto­ry. As a result of these inter­views, he says that the fuller pic­ture that has emerged shows that offi­cials cut cor­ners and relied on a pli­ant Supreme Court to get the exe­cu­tions done, even…

State & Federal Info

Federal Death Penalty

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Feb 02, 2023

Penalty Phase Scheduled to Begin in Federal Capital Trial of Sayfullo Saipov

Sayfullo Saipov (pic­tured) was found guilty in fed­er­al court on January 26, 2023 of killing eight peo­ple on a New York City bike path in 2017 by dri­ving a truck into a crowd of peo­ple. He will now like­ly be the first per­son to face a fed­er­al cap­i­tal penal­ty hear­ing dur­ing President Biden’s admin­is­tra­tion. On February 6, 2023, a jury in Manhattan will begin hear­ing evi­dence to deter­mine whether Saipov will be sen­tenced to death or life with­out parole. The jury must vote unan­i­mous­ly for a death sen­tence to result.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Innocence

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Race

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Federal Death Penalty

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Aug 12, 2021

Senators, Members of Congress Urge Attorney General to Stop Seeking Death Sentences

Seventeen U.S. Senators and four Members of Congress who are lead­ing the effort to abol­ish the fed­er­al death penal­ty have called on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland (pic­tured) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to stop seek­ing the death penal­ty in pend­ing and future fed­er­al mur­der trials.

Policy Issues

Victims' Families

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Religion

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Federal Death Penalty

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Oct 27, 2021

Three Years After Attack on Synagogue, Status of Trials in Tree of Life Killings Remains Unclear

Three years after the reli­gious­ly-moti­vat­ed attack on Pittsburghs Tree of Life syn­a­gogue, the sta­tus of the state and fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tions in the case remains unset­tled. As the three Jewish con­gre­ga­tions who wor­ship at the syn­a­gogue marked the anniver­sary of the October 27, 2018 attack that took the lives of eleven con­gre­gants, no tri­al date is in sight and the prospect of a cap­i­tal tri­al that many in the tight­ly-knit com­mu­ni­ty oppose con­tin­ues to delay healing.

Policy Issues

Victims' Families

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jan 16, 2024

U.S. Department of Justice Authorizes First Federal Death Penalty Case for Payton Gendron, Teen Who Killed Ten Black People in 2022

On January 12, 2024, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it will seek a death sen­tence for Payton Gendron, the then-18-year-old who killed 10 Black peo­ple at a Tops super­mar­ket in Buffalo, New York in 2022. This is the first cap­i­tal case autho­rized by Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Biden Administration’s DOJ. The announce­ment came twen­ty months after the mass shoot­ing and eleven months after Mr. Gendron pled guilty to state first degree mur­der charges and was sen­tenced to mul­ti­ple sen­tences of life with­out parole. Although New…

Policy Issues

Victims' Families

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Religion

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New Voices

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Federal Death Penalty

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May 30, 2023

Victims’ Families are Divided Over Death Penalty as Bowers Trial Begins

On May 25, 2023, 12 death-qual­i­fied jurors and six alter­nates were select­ed in the fed­er­al cap­i­tal tri­al of Robert Bowers, who is charged with killing 11 wor­ship­pers at a Pittsburgh syn­a­gogue in 2018. Prosecutors struck all the Black, Hispanic, and Jewish venire mem­bers. As tes­ti­mo­ny begins on May 30, some vic­tims’ fam­i­ly mem­bers have expressed sup­port for cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, while oth­ers have objected.