Criminal Defense News: First Federal Death Penalty in 17 Years
The Supreme Court said Tuesday morning that the Justice Department can resume federal executions this week, overturning a D.C. judge’s last-minute order that had temporarily halted the lethal injections.
In an unsigned, 5-4 opinion issued around 2 a.m., the Supreme Court found that the prisoners on death row had “not made the showing required to justify last-minute intervention.” Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor each wrote dissents, which Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan joined.
Daniel Lewis Lee was executed by lethal injection in Terre Haute, Indiana, early on Tuesday. Lee was convicted of torturing and killing a family of three in Arkansas in 1996, dumping their bodies in a lake.
The change was partially explained in a statement at the time, Attorney General William Barr said: "Under administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals.
"The Justice Department upholds the rule of law - and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system."
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