Ayanna Pressley Happy That The Federal Government Pauses Executions

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/07/05/ayanna-pressley-happy-that-the-federal-government-pauses-executions/

Under President Joe Biden’s administration, federal executions will not take place — to the joy of U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Dorchester).

A public memo from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Justice Department will pause federal executions. This comes after former President Donald Trump’s administration resumed executions after 17 years of none happening. In a six-month stretch last year, there were 13 federal executions.

“The Department of Justice must ensure that everyone in the federal criminal justice system is not only afforded the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States, but is also treated fairly and humanely,” Garland wrote. “That obligation has special force in capital cases.”

Since joining Congress, Pressley has led the charge to end the federal death penalty permanently. Pressley introduced the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act (H.R.262) in January, making the second straight Congress where she offered a bill opposing capital punishment.

Pressley was pleased when Garland’s memo became public and wrote a response to it on Instagram.

“At the White House, President @JoeBiden gave me his word no person in America would be executed on his watch. I’m grateful for his conviction & this critical announcement from the DOJ,” Pressley wrote. “Our work to end the #deathpenalty once and for all is urgent. A more just world is possible.”

Capital punishment is popular among the general public, although its popularity has declined in recent years. As of 2020, 55 percent of Americans favored the death penalty for a person convicted of murder, according to a Gallup poll. Meanwhile, 43 percent opposed. That’s down from the mid-1990s when support for capital punishment was as high as 80 percent and opposition was as low as 16 percent.

Generally, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation opposes capital punishment. However, Republicans in the state, including Governor Charlie Baker, are more supportive of it. Baker, for example, supports capital punishment for those who kill police officers.

Outside of the United States, the death penalty is uncommon in first-world countries. Belarus is the only European country where capital punishment is still carried out, according to the European Union’s web site.


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