On February 3, 2021

AG Donovan urges to end the federal death penalty

Joins nearly 100 criminal justice leaders in calling for urgent action

Attorney General TJ Donovan has joined nearly 100 criminal justice leaders in urging President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to take all actions within their power to immediately and definitively end the death penalty in the United States.

In a letter sent Jan. 25, the coalition urged the new administration to take multifaceted and lasting steps that future administrations cannot readily undo, including: commuting the sentences of all those on federal death row and withdrawing current death penalty warrants, dismantling the death chamber at Terre Haute, encouraging Dept. of Justice leadership to instruct all federal prosecutors to not seek the death penalty in future cases, supporting and incentivizing state efforts to end capital punishment, and supporting legislation to end the federal death penalty.

“There is no justice in state-sanctioned killings,” said Attorney General Donovan. “I am opposed to the death penalty and I am asking President Biden to end this archaic, inhumane, and failed institution once and for all.”

The United States was one of only 20 countries, and the only developed Western democracy, to use the death penalty in 2019 – and is far more likely to impose the punishment in cases involving Black defendants or white victims. Since 1973, at least 174 people on death row have been exonerated, while the National Academy of Sciences estimates that over 4% of death row prisoners are innocent.

After the Trump administration rushed to execute 13 people in its last six months in office, putting countless additional lives in danger as a Covid-19 outbreak took over federal death row, the coalition made clear in their letter that a moratorium is insufficient to end our nation’s use of the death penalty: “[A]t a time when racial injustice, trust in law enforcement, and our nation’s reputation in the eyes of the world are all in dire need of repair, anything short of these steps would fail to move our nation forward or attend to these pressing crises. We should not leave the lives of all people still on federal death row — and many more who will become entangled with the federal system — in the hands of future administrations.”

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Back to the State House, June 17

June 5, 2024
The full Legislature will return to Montpelier on June 17 to take up any bills the governor has vetoed. Leaders will be deciding in the next few weeks which of those vetoed they will attempt to override, (two thirds required for an override), which will be rewritten to address some of Scott’s objections. The rest…

Former Democratic lawmaker John Rodgers to run for lieutenant governor as a Republican

May 29, 2024
By Ethan Weinstein/VTDigger John Rodgers, a former Vermont House and Senate Democrat from Glover, is running for lieutenant governor as a Republican.  “I don’t feel like I left the party. I feel like the party left me,” Rodgers said in an interview Friday, describing himself as a moderate. “I feel closer to Phil Scott than I…

Gov. Scott signs budget, vetoes renewable energy standard bill

May 29, 2024
On Thursday, May 23, Governor Phil Scott, as expected, signed the budget bill into law H.833, while vetoing H.289, An Act Relating to the Renewable Energy Standard.  Scott has long voiced his opposition to the renewable energy bill because of the cost and complexity in how the law could be carried out and the ultimate cost…

Gov. Scott vetoes bill that would’ve restricted bee-killing pesticide

May 22, 2024
Staff report On Monday, May 20, World Bee Day, Gov. Phil Scott vetoed legislation meant to protect bees and other pollinators from a widely-used neuorotoxic pesticide. The bill (H.706) would  eliminate most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) in Vermont, which have been associated with alarming losses of managed and wild bee populations. Neonic insecticides are used on…