Attorney General William Barr has directed the Department of Justice to resume the use of the death penalty, asking the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule executions for five death row prisoners. The federal government hasn’t put a prisoner to death since 2003. All five prisoners slated for death were convicted of killing children. Robert Dunham, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, says it appears they were carefully selected to tamp down public opposition to resuming federal executions.
Robert Dunham: “I think the fact that the five cases were selected because of factors that are irrelevant to federal jurisdiction underscores that these cases were not chosen because they justify the federal death penalty. They were chosen because they were designed to inflame the public.”
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, over 160 people in the U.S. who had been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death have been exonerated since 1973. We’ll have more on the Trump administration’s move to reinstate federal executions after headlines.