The approved amendment to the “Federal Executions of Manager” rule gives federal lawyers a variety of options for execution, so that the state sentenced to imprisonment will not provide other options.
Attorney General William Barr and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs passed the rule. Once approved the amendment is published in the Federal Register – which a Justice Department official said could come as early as Friday – it will take effect in 30 days.
President-elect Joe Biden campaigned for the abolition of the federal death penalty and four of the five inmates sentenced to death have already been selected in his way – lethal injection.
“The Federal Death Penalty Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton, requires that federal punishments be carried out as determined by the states, some of which use methods other than lethal injection. These rules were enacted in August.” Do, “a Justice Department official told CNN via email.
The Justice Department has not answered additional questions about why the new rule was created.
It also suggests that if the state where the crime was committed does not allow the death penalty, the judge may appoint another state with that law and use their facilities to enforce it.
But a Justice Department official said “the federal government will not execute a prisoner by firing squad or electrocution unless the state concerned authorizes the execution method itself.”
Attorneys involved in death penalty cases have argued that the use of “non-prescribed” pentobarbital lethal injections violates the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act and is subject to the inmate suffering from “flash pulmonary edema effects” – a respiratory condition where fluid rapidly enters the pharynx. According to court documents.
Those arguments have been closed by the Supreme Court and a federal judge, who has ruled that it is not “certain” or “probable” that such an event could occur if a lethal injection is used and that According to court documents, “cruel and unusual punishments” do not raise the level of constitutional violation.
Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said on Twitter on Thursday that “no one in the state has committed an offense on the federal death penalty that uses firing squads to execute inmates.”
When a Justice Department rule is published for future death penalty cases, attorneys may request that the judge transfer the case to another state, such as Oklahoma, Utah, or Mississippi, where firing squads are allowed.
Four prisoners, Including Brandon Bernard – the youngest person in the United States to be sentenced to death for a crime he committed as a teenager – and Lisa Montgomery – the only woman on the federal death penalty to be sentenced to death in her 70s. Year – Deadly injection is expected to be received.
Mortgomry was given a stay on his execution until Dec. 31 after his lawyers were diagnosed with coronavirus. Its implementation date is January 12.
The Trump administration has denied a request for Montgomery’s release. Last week, the Supreme Court rejected Bernard’s final request to stay the execution.
There are currently 54 people on the federal death penalty. Bernard’s next scheduled execution is on December 10th.
The story was updated Sunday with more information from the Justice Department about the proposed rules.
CNN’s Jessica Snyder contributed to this report.