Joe Biden called for an end to executions.  So why is his Justice Department still demanding the death penalty?

Joe Biden called for an end to executions. So why is his Justice Department still demanding the death penalty?

Joe Biden called for an end to executions.  So why is his Justice Department still demanding the death penalty?

The terrorism trial of Sayfullo Saipov begins on Monday. Prosecutors say the man plowed a rented truck down Manhattan’s crowded West Side bike lane, killing eight and wounding scores of others in an Islamic State-inspired attack.

But it’s not just the New Jersey resident who’s being put on trial. The Biden administration’s confusing, seemingly hypocritical stance on the death penalty is coming under scrutiny. Joe Biden has said he opposes executions, but his Justice Department still wants the Uzbek immigrant to be put to death.

Joe Biden who was significantly involved in the development of numerous guidelines for the “tough fight against crime”. when a senator surprisingly announced in the 1990s during the 2020 election campaign that he opposed the death penalty, declaring that he was renouncing his earlier support because a mountain of evidence of false convictions now shows: “we cannot ensure that we handle death penalty cases correctly every time.”

Moreover, a year later in July 2021, the Department of Justice announced that this was the case Put federal executions on hold when the government reviewed its death penalty policy, after a historical execution frenzy under Donald Trump.

“Serious concerns have been raised about the continued use of the death penalty across the country, including the arbitrariness of its use, the uneven impact it has on people of color, and the worrying number of exonerations in deaths and other serious cases,” Attorney General Merrick Garland wrote in one memo declare the moratorium at the time.

“He assured me that there would be no federal executions under his supervision,” said Rep. Ayanna Pressley told The Independent last year.

The president’s personal unease over executions hasn’t stopped the Justice Department from pursuing the death penalty in a number of terrorism and domestic extremism cases, including the Manhattan truck attack and the indictments of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the White racist church gunman Dylann Dach, though, like The Independent has reported some victim families in both cases have expressed their wishes that the government renounce the use of the death penalty.

“It’s very difficult to understand how the Biden administration is thinking about and dealing with the federal death penalty,” said Austin Sarat, professor of law and politics at Amherst College. told the New York Times.

“Biden’s campaign stance against the death penalty was, I think, an important signal to many of what this administration could do,” he continued. “The federal moratorium on executions? That’s welcome. But beyond that there are no signs.”

In July 2021, the same month Mr. Garland announced the moratorium on executions, federal prosecutors commended an appeals court for upholding Tsarnaev’s death sentence.

(Federal Office of Investigations)

“The jury carefully considered the crimes of each defendant and decided that the death penalty was warranted for the horrors he personally inflicted,” said Acting Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote shortly then.

The White House told Reuters at the time that Joe Biden was still against the death penalty, but that the DoJ was “independent in relation to such decisions.”

“President Biden has made it clear that he has grave concerns about whether the death penalty is consistent with values ​​that are fundamental to our sense of justice and fairness,” a spokesman told the news service.

In March 2022 the Supreme Court further confirmed the verdict of the Boston Bomber.

The charge against Roof was similar. 2021, a month after the announcement of the moratorium, a federal prosecutor celebrated An appeals court upheld the white supremacist’s death sentence, calling it a sign that “justice is being served to the victims, the survivors and their families.”

In October 2022 the Supreme Court a complaint dismissed Challenging execution of Roof.

Critics argue that Mr Biden says one thing and does the other. The President has said he hopes for a law banning the death penalty, though he has spent virtually no public political capital pushing for such a priority.

Additionally, former prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst Jordan Rubin notes that even without the passage of a new bill in Congress, the President could make significant changes to death row in the United States by using his executive powers to en masse commute federal death sentences to life imprisonment .

“Biden could clear federal death row with the stroke of a pen if he wanted to,” Mr. Rubin said wrote In December. “But despite his stated concerns about the death penalty, he has not done so.”

The Independent and the Nonprofit Corporate responsibility initiative for justice (RBIJ) have launched a joint campaign calling for an end to the death penalty in the United States. The RBIJ has attracted more than 150 high-profile signatories to its Business Leaders’ Statement Against the Death Penalty – with The Independent being the latest on the list. We join high-profile leaders such as Ariana Huffington, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson as part of this initiative and commit to highlighting the injustices of the death penalty in our reporting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *