US Attorney General Orders Hold On Federal Executions – As Happened | US News

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Higgs, 48, was convicted of murdering three women at a Maryland wildlife refuge in 1996, even though he was an accomplice who fired the fatal shots. Willis Haynes was convicted of the same crime but sentenced to life.

“It was not justice,” Sotomayor, a person appointed by Barack Obama, wrote in an order issued Friday night.

Sotomayor, who criticized the Trump administration’s July 2019 announcement that it would resume federal executions after a two-decade hiatus, condemned what she saw as “an unprecedented rush” to kill convicted inmates. All 13 executions have taken place since July 2020.

“To put this in historical context, the federal government will have executed more than three times as many people in the past six months as in the previous six decades,” she wrote.

“There can be no ‘justice on the fly’ in matters of life and death,” Sotomayor added. “Yet the court allowed the United States to execute 13 people in six months under a legal regime and regulatory protocol that have not been scrutinized, without resolving the serious allegations made by convicted persons. “

Breyer, a liberal colleague of the nine-judge high court, was equally scathing, naming each of the 13 executed prisoners and noting a lower court observation that Higgs had significant lung damage. The lethal injection of pentobarbital, Breyer said, “would subject him to a drowning sensation similar to waterboarding.”

He said the court needed to determine whether the execution protocols risked extreme pain and unnecessary suffering and pressured the courts to make last-minute decisions on life or death.

“What should courts do when faced with legal questions like this? he wrote. “Are they supposed to hurry, hurry?” “”


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