Entries tagged with “Wesley Purkey

Executions

Lethal Injection

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jan 16, 2020

Appeals Court Hears Argument on Injunction that Halted Federal Executions

A three-judge pan­el of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard near­ly two hours of argu­ment on January 15, 2020 in four con­sol­i­dat­ed cas­es that could deter­mine whether the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment will be able to resume exe­cu­tions in 2020. The appeals pan­el — com­posed of Gregory G. Katsas and Neomi Rao, both appoint­ed by President Donald Trump, and David S. Tatel, appoint­ed by for­mer President Bill Clinton — sharply ques­tioned lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and four fed­er­al death-row pris­on­ers over whether the DOJ exe­cu­tion pro­to­col adopt­ed in…

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.

Executions

Lethal Injection

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Federal Death Penalty

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Feb 26, 2021

Federal Bureau of Prisons Sanitized Execution Reports, Omitting Disturbing Details Observed by Media Witnesses

Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) offi­cials repeat­ed­ly mis­rep­re­sent­ed accounts of the exe­cu­tions they car­ried out in 2020 and 2021, pro­vid­ing san­i­tized descrip­tions of the exe­cu­tions that omit­ted all ref­er­ences to dra­mat­ic body move­ments and signs of dis­tress observed by media wit­ness­es, accord­ing to an Associated Press report. The sworn accounts by exe­cu­tion­ers, which fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors pro­vid­ed to an expert wit­ness and to a fed­er­al dis­trict court judge to defeat the pris­on­ers’ court claims that the exe­cu­tion process was excru­ci­at­ing­ly painful and uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly cru­el, devi­at­ed sig­nif­i­cant­ly from the obser­va­tions of multiple…

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.

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Federal Death Penalty

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Dec 04, 2019

Lawyers for Federal Death-Row Prisoner Say Schizophrenia, Brain Injuries, and Dementia Have Left Him Incompetent to Be Executed

Lawyers for fed­er­al death-row pris­on­er Wesley Purkey, who is sched­uled to be exe­cut­ed on December 13, 2019, say he is incom­pe­tent to be exe­cut­ed because he has Alzheimer’s dis­ease, schiz­o­phre­nia, and trau­mat­ic brain injuries that ren­der him unable to ratio­nal­ly under­stand the rea­son the United States seeks to exe­cute him.”

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.

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.

Facts & Research

United States Supreme Court

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Upcoming Executions

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Lethal Injection

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Federal Death Penalty

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Dec 07, 2019

Supreme Court Ruling Halts Scheduled Federal Executions

The United States Supreme Court has denied an appli­ca­tion by the U.S. Department of Justice to lift a fed­er­al court injunc­tion block­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment from car­ry­ing out four exe­cu­tions sched­uled for December 2019 and January 2020. The Court’s unan­i­mous rul­ing, issued Friday evening December 6, ensures that there will be no fed­er­al exe­cu­tions in 2019.

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.

Executions

Upcoming Executions

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Lethal Injection

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Federal Death Penalty

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Nov 21, 2019

Washington District Court Enjoins U.S. Government From Carrying Out Federal Executions

A fed­er­al judge in Washington has issued a pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion bar­ring the United States gov­ern­ment from car­ry­ing out four exe­cu­tions sched­uled for December 2019 and January 2020. The opin­ion, issued November 20, 2019, tem­porar­i­ly halts the fed­er­al exe­cu­tions pend­ing com­ple­tion of court chal­lenges to the government’s exe­cu­tion process and is a major blow to the Trump administration’s plan to resume car­ry­ing out the fed­er­al death penal­ty after a six­teen-year hiatus.

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…