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house Bill H.R. 4052

Should the Federal Government be Banned From Using the Death Penalty?

Argument in favor

There are numerous problems with the death penalty, including cases where innocent people have been wrongfully executed, its geographically arbitrary application, and racism in juries’ decisions in capital punishment cases. The federal death penalty should be abolished.

Michael.J.L's Opinion
···
09/20/2019
Although there are crimes that can be warranted to deserve the death penalty It is a barbaric practice that should be outlawed. And please do not bring up the Old Testament as justification for putting someone to death...if you want to do that then you must accept all the penalties for sin and that would condemn most of us. Also, historical studies since the late 1800's have shown the death penalty is no deterrent to crime. Update: @Raymond, since you lashed out at me I will answer you. Vengeance does not equate with justice. Just because I am against the death penalty does not mean I am against justice. So, before lashing out in such a Neanderthal manner think first.
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jimK's Opinion
···
09/21/2019
michael.j.l: great comment! Sorry about poor Raymond, I have been attacked as well- at least it shows he is sort of paying attention, even if he isn’t getting what you are saying. ... updated ... Too many false convictions. Too many convictions decided by jury’s who are easily swayed by skillful prosecutor rhetoric, false testimony, or people who claim to be absolutely sure of what they saw- often found out later to be wrong. Even if it all is clear and indisputable, a summary judgement is less of a punishment than one’s knowing that they will never be free again. Death penalties are archaic and have been shown to not be a deterrent and not to be cost effective. Life time incarceration is enough. ... ... Nay sayers, I think you might change your minds if you were involved with or knew someone charged with a criminal felony. You would see that our justice system is not what you see on TV and not what you see on reality TV, documenting criminal prosecution. The justice system is simply not just. Those that cannot afford legal help are simply run over by a system that treats anyone charged as cattle in a pen awaiting to be branded for life. Logic, timelines, and defensive witnesses are a secondary consideration for prosecutors rewarded by winning, and who capable of painting an emotive picture to a jury who are swung over by emotional concern for victims. Anyone deemed capable of logically challenging prosecutorial conclusions are dismissed early in the jury selection process. Court decisions that prevent juries from even being able to hear contraindicated testimony prevent juries from getting a clear picture of all the factors that could and should influence their judgement. People are convicted with evidence that has been intentionally suppressed by police who assume someone arrested must be guilty. The justice system can and does often render terminal judgements which by any clear and detailed review are simply not just. So once again, NO.
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Hillary's Opinion
···
09/20/2019
The federal government has made many mistakes. A death sentence is irreparable.
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Argument opposed

The death penalty is an important form of retribution for heinous crimes and deters people from committing those same crimes. The death penalty should available for federal prosecutors to bring in response to horrific crimes committed by dangerous and unrepentant individuals.

Raymond 's Opinion
···
09/20/2019
So if you’re Family member is Murdered in cold blood you are ok with that? Your Mom. Sister, Daughter, Grand Child is RAPED AND MURDERED! You are okay with NO JUSTICE AT ALL??? Seriously. With most coastal states which are UBER LIBERAL leftists. They want to actually let people like those previously stated would be released in months not even years. So these same cockroaches would be free to repeat said horrific deeds. You all are truly repugnant. And self destructive. Idiots. @michaelj And to address the folly that jails are archaic. They are now due to the liberals telling everyone that they are inhuman nota viability in today’s world. Well that’s because you have made them into resorts. Weight Rooms free cable amongst other things poor people in our own country do not have. So yes NOW JAIL IS NOT A DETERRENCE. And as for getting it wrong in court. Rare but yes it does happen although it is sad. You decide to let these cockroaches out back into society. To do it all over again.
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John's Opinion
···
09/20/2019
The same people that are against capital punishment are for abortion If you’re for abortion you should be for capital punishment, it’s just a medical procedure except the BABY IS INNOCENT
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Gopin2020's Opinion
···
09/20/2019
Crime in some places now is out of control just imagine if there was no threat of death for the worst crimes. Executing people can take a decade or two in most instances. How do you think crime would be without a possibility of receiving death? I dare to think. I wholeheartedly support and recommend keeping the death penalty on the table. #MAGA
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What is House Bill H.R. 4052?

This bill would ban the federal government from using the death penalty. It would also require that any person sentenced to death under federal law before its passage be resentenced.

Impact

Federal death row inmates; federal imposition of the death penalty; and resentencing of those sentenced to death.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4052

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) introduced this bill to prevent the federal government from using the death penalty. She introduced this bill in response to the Dept. of Justice’s (DOJ) announcement that it will resume using the death penalty after not using it for more 16 years: 

“The same racist rhetoric coming from the occupant of the White House - who called for the execution of the Exonerated 5 [also known as the Central Park 5, five black and Latino teenagers who were accused, and eventually exonerated, of raping a woman in Central Park in 1989], is what led to this racist, vile policy. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now and I am proud to introduce a bill that completely abolishes the use of capital punishment as a punitive measure. The cruelty is the point - this is by design.”

Critics of the federal death penalty argue that it’s plagued by many of the same problems as state death penalty systems. These problems include racial bias (55% of defendants sentenced to death in the last decade were people of color), geographical arbitrariness (only three states — Virginia, Texas, and Missouri — accounted for almost 50% of all federal death row prisoners), and disparities in defense counsels’ quality and funding

Cassandra Stubbs, director of the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project, says, “The death penalty is plagued by racial bias and geographic bias. Junk science has played an outsized role in who gets the death penalty and who does not."

President Trump has frequently expressed support for the death penalty both before taking office and while serving as president. He has spoken favorably of the death penalty for drug dealers, suggesting that the government is “wasting [its] time” in not executing them, and tweeted “YES!” in response to a question about whether he supported the death penalty in May 2013. In April 2013, Trump tweeted, “...Who says the death penalty is not a deterrent?” 

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), who are both seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, both oppose the death penalty. Explaining her reasoning, Sen. Warren says, “Our criminal justice system has a long history of mistakes when it comes to capital punishment—especially when it comes to Black and Brown people. We cannot let a broken system decide the fate of incarcerated Americans. I oppose the death penalty.” Similarly, Sen. Booker says

“Throughout our nation’s history we have seen how the death penalty is not only ineffective and immoral, but also fraught with biases against people of color, low-income individuals, and those with mental illness. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars and does nothing to improve public safety. Instead, capital punishment seeks to satisfy a desire for vengeance and retribution. Our government must represent the best of who we are, not the worst.”

Hannah Riley, communications manager at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, argues that the U.S. is in the middle of a “death penalty crisis” that can only be resolved by abolishing the death penalty. Riley argues that the death penalty is cruel, often resulting in gruesome deaths and suffering, and concludes: 

“For many Americans, the idea of a torturous execution is acceptable ― justified, even. But this doesn’t change the fact that the American death penalty as we know it violates our Constitution’s ban against cruel and unusual punishment and our constitutional guarantee of due process and equal protection under the law. Our death penalty practices are unconstitutional. Period… Each death-row exoneration chips away at public faith in the system’s ability to get it right, and every botched execution serves as a stark reminder that there is no way to ensure death comes without suffering… Still, some states continue fighting to retain the right to kill prisoners. They fight to uphold a fallacy of justice: the notion that suffering and pain are somehow redemptive. They fight to uphold a punishment that is ineffective, costly and long shunned by the rest of the industrialized Western world. No person ― regardless of their worst act ― should be subjected to a death like that at the hands of their own government.”

Those who support the death penalty typically argue that it serves retributive and deterrent purposes. They also argue that it prevents re-offending, provides victims’ families with closure and vindication. Sometimes, they cite examples of condemned persons taking the time before their deaths to repent, express remorse, and experience profound spiritual rehabilitation as proof that the death penalty can serve as rehabilitative purpose.

This legislation has 16 House cosponsors, including 15 Democrats and one Independent (former Republican Rep. Justin Amash). Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), has 10 Senate cosponsors, including nine Democrats and one Independent. This legislation is virtually guaranteed not to pass the Senate or gain President Trump’s signature.


Of NoteIn July 2019, the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) announced its intention to resume capital punishment. Attorney General William Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to adopt a change to the federal execution protocol to make it possible to execute inmates on death row. He also directed the BOP’s Acting Director, Hugh Hurwitz, to schedule the executions of five convicted murderers who have exhausted their appellate and post-conviction remedies (Daniel Lewis Lee, Lezmond Mitchell, Wesley Ira Purkey, Alfred Bourgeois, and Dustin Lee Honken). In a press release, AG Barr said: 

“Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President. Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding.  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.”

In response to the DOJ’s announcement, Rep. Pressley tweeted, “The death penalty has no place in a just society” alongside an image of this bill.

Three people have been executed under the federal death penalty since its enactment in 1988. The last federal execution was in March 2003, when Louis Jones, Jr. was executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Jones — a Gulf War veteran who blamed Iraqi nerve gas for turning him into a killer — was executed by lethal injection for the 1995 kidnap, rape, and murder of a young Army recruit in Texas. 

The death penalty is legal in 29 states and at the federal level. About 70% of countries, including many democratic industrialized nations like the U.S., have abolished the death penalty.

The Economist notes that “strong evidence” suggests Texas has killed innocent men more than once since the 1970s. Carlos Deluna and Cameron Todd Willingham, who were executed in 1989 and 2004, respective, are among that number. Additionally, death penalty abolitionists argue that the application of the death penalty is racist (over 75% of those executed were sentenced to death for killing white people, even though about half of all murder victims are black) and that executions are exorbitantly expensive because of the lengthy appeals and retrials they prompt and the expensive and hard-to-obtain cocktails used in executions.

In a 2018 survey, the Pew Research Center found that 54% of Americans supported the death penalty. This was a 5% increase over 2016, when 49% of Americans supported it. Robert Dunham, head of the Death Penalty Information Center, attributed the uptick in support to political rhetoric, especially from President Trump.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / EyeJoy)

AKA

To prohibit the imposition of the death penalty for any violation of Federal law, and for other purposes.

Official Title

To prohibit the imposition of the death penalty for any violation of Federal law, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedJuly 25th, 2019
    Although there are crimes that can be warranted to deserve the death penalty It is a barbaric practice that should be outlawed. And please do not bring up the Old Testament as justification for putting someone to death...if you want to do that then you must accept all the penalties for sin and that would condemn most of us. Also, historical studies since the late 1800's have shown the death penalty is no deterrent to crime. Update: @Raymond, since you lashed out at me I will answer you. Vengeance does not equate with justice. Just because I am against the death penalty does not mean I am against justice. So, before lashing out in such a Neanderthal manner think first.
    Like (76)
    Follow
    Share
    So if you’re Family member is Murdered in cold blood you are ok with that? Your Mom. Sister, Daughter, Grand Child is RAPED AND MURDERED! You are okay with NO JUSTICE AT ALL??? Seriously. With most coastal states which are UBER LIBERAL leftists. They want to actually let people like those previously stated would be released in months not even years. So these same cockroaches would be free to repeat said horrific deeds. You all are truly repugnant. And self destructive. Idiots. @michaelj And to address the folly that jails are archaic. They are now due to the liberals telling everyone that they are inhuman nota viability in today’s world. Well that’s because you have made them into resorts. Weight Rooms free cable amongst other things poor people in our own country do not have. So yes NOW JAIL IS NOT A DETERRENCE. And as for getting it wrong in court. Rare but yes it does happen although it is sad. You decide to let these cockroaches out back into society. To do it all over again.
    Like (44)
    Follow
    Share
    michael.j.l: great comment! Sorry about poor Raymond, I have been attacked as well- at least it shows he is sort of paying attention, even if he isn’t getting what you are saying. ... updated ... Too many false convictions. Too many convictions decided by jury’s who are easily swayed by skillful prosecutor rhetoric, false testimony, or people who claim to be absolutely sure of what they saw- often found out later to be wrong. Even if it all is clear and indisputable, a summary judgement is less of a punishment than one’s knowing that they will never be free again. Death penalties are archaic and have been shown to not be a deterrent and not to be cost effective. Life time incarceration is enough. ... ... Nay sayers, I think you might change your minds if you were involved with or knew someone charged with a criminal felony. You would see that our justice system is not what you see on TV and not what you see on reality TV, documenting criminal prosecution. The justice system is simply not just. Those that cannot afford legal help are simply run over by a system that treats anyone charged as cattle in a pen awaiting to be branded for life. Logic, timelines, and defensive witnesses are a secondary consideration for prosecutors rewarded by winning, and who capable of painting an emotive picture to a jury who are swung over by emotional concern for victims. Anyone deemed capable of logically challenging prosecutorial conclusions are dismissed early in the jury selection process. Court decisions that prevent juries from even being able to hear contraindicated testimony prevent juries from getting a clear picture of all the factors that could and should influence their judgement. People are convicted with evidence that has been intentionally suppressed by police who assume someone arrested must be guilty. The justice system can and does often render terminal judgements which by any clear and detailed review are simply not just. So once again, NO.
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    The federal government has made many mistakes. A death sentence is irreparable.
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    The same people that are against capital punishment are for abortion If you’re for abortion you should be for capital punishment, it’s just a medical procedure except the BABY IS INNOCENT
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    Crime in some places now is out of control just imagine if there was no threat of death for the worst crimes. Executing people can take a decade or two in most instances. How do you think crime would be without a possibility of receiving death? I dare to think. I wholeheartedly support and recommend keeping the death penalty on the table. #MAGA
    Like (29)
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    Ignoring the inequality of our legal system for a moment. That fact that it has been scientifically proven that eyewitness testimony is the weakest and worst testimony. Yet our courts still treat it as the end-all-be-all justification to end a persons life.
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    Don’t like it? Don’t commit the crime!
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    If you are for abortion, you should be for the death penalty or your a hypocrite.
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    It needs to be used more often. Like mass shootings should be mandatory.
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    There is no moral or ethical justification for the death penalty. There also is no financial incentive for it. It actually costs more to hold a prisoner on death row than it does to confine them with a life sentence. The continuation of a death penalty with no moral or ethical justification is of particular concern. That leaves revenge, which is based in hate, as the only remaining plausible reason. Revenge as a motive breeds hate, resentment and further episodes of revenge, repetitively, ad nauseum. If you don’t understand why there is no moral or ethical justification for a death penalty you are highly unlikely to understand the explanation.
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    There are numerous problems with the death penalty, including cases where innocent people have been wrongfully executed, its geographically arbitrary application, and racism in juries’ decisions in capital punishment cases. The federal death penalty should be abolished.
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    You never know when you're going to have to care of some traitors!
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    The penalty for murder should not be free food, housing and medical care paid for by the victims families. Kill them swiftly.
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    We need to get rid of the death penalty in America. It is immoral and unjust especially since people are sentenced to death and then found not guilty years later.
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    It’s wrong for anyone to kill another person. The government should set the standard for it’s citizens.
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    If you believe in pro-life as many do then it’s cradle to grave then believing in death penalty makes no sense!!
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    Capital Punishment - Death Penalty is an anachronism. Get with other civilized nations. Deterrence is another myth. Retribution can be achieved with more humaneinterventions. Look at how Germany approaches their criminal justice system.
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    Thou shall not kill.
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    One wrongful death is too many at the hands of the government. If they want to commute to life sentences at least the innocent should eventually go free and the heinous perpetrators will have a miserable existence. An eye for an eye which is where this is based was in the Old Testament and therefore superseded by the teachings of Jesus if you want to look at it from that stand point too. We are the only western democracy still perpetrating this upon its citizens too.
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