US halts all federal executions amid review of capital punishment

The White Housesource: The Guardian (World)
published: 2 July 2021

The US attorney general has imposed a moratorium on all federal executions while the justice department reviews its policies and procedures on capital punishment. Civil rights and criminal justice advocates have been pushing for a halt following a wave of controversial executions under the Trump administration.

Citing the disproportionate impact of capital punishment on people of color, and deep controversy over the drugs used to put people to death, the attorney general, Merrick Garland, [has] ordered a temporary pause on scheduling 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 said. “That obligation has special force in capital cases.”

Garland said the department would review the execution protocols put in place by the former attorney general, William Barr. A federal lawsuit was filed over the protocols – including the risk of pain and suffering associated with the use of pentobarbital, the drug used for lethal injection.

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