Connect with us

English

Justice Dept. plans 3 more executions in lame-duck period

Published

on

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has scheduled three more federal executions during the lame-duck period before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, including two just days before his inauguration.

The announcement comes a day after the federal Bureau of Prisons carried out the eighth federal execution this year after a 17-year hiatus, and it is likely to increase pressure on Biden to take a public stance on whether his administration would continue to schedule executions once he is sworn in. Advocacy groups have called on the Trump administration to pause all executions until Biden takes office.

Representatives for the Biden transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night.

In a court filing Friday night, the Justice Department said it was scheduling the executions of Alfred Bourgeois for Dec. 11 and Cory Johnson and Dustin Higgs for Jan. 14 and 15. Two other executions had already been scheduled for this year, including the first woman scheduled to be executed by the federal government in about six decades — though on Thursday, a federal judge ruled that execution could not proceed before the end of the year.

Prosecutors say Bourgeois tortured, sexually molested, and then beat his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to death. Court records say Bourgeois repeatedly beat the young girl and punched her in the face, whipped her with an electrical cord and beat her with a belt so hard that it broke. He also allegedly burned her feet with a cigarette lighter and hit her in the head with a baseball bat until her head swelled.

Johnson was one of three crack cocaine dealers convicted in a string of murders. Prosecutors said he killed seven people in in an attempt to expand the territory of a Richmond, Virginia, gang and silence informants. His co-defendants James H. Roane Jr. and Richard Tipton, members of same drug gang, are also on death row.

Johnson’s lawyers argue their client is intellectually disabled, and thus it would be unconstitutional to put him to death. The Supreme Court has held that it is unlawful to execute a person who is of such a low intelligence that they can’t function in society.

But they argue that “no jury or court has ever listened to the evidence at a hearing to decide if he has intellectual disability.”

“We are not aware of any other federal death penalty prisoner who has never had a single evidentiary hearing at which he could present his intellectual disability evidence. The government should not proceed with Mr. Johnson’s execution in the absence of a thorough and fair opportunity for him to present this evidence,” the lawyers, Ronald J. Tabak and Donald P. Salzman, said in a statement.

Higgs was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of three women, Tamika Black, Mishann Chinn and Tanji Jackson, at a federal wildlife center near Beltsville, Maryland. Prosecutors say Higgs and two others abducted the women after Higgs became enraged because one of the women rebuffed his advances at party.

Higgs’ attorney, Sean Nolan, said his client didn’t kill anyone, had ineffective attorneys and didn’t deserve the death penalty. Higgs’ co-defendant, who prosecutors said carried out the killings, was not sentenced to death and Nolan said it is “arbitrary and inequitable to punish Mr. Higgs more severely than the person who committed the murders.”

“Mr. Higgs deserves clemency because of the unfair sentencing disparity … and because, despite the tragedy and hardship of his early life, he has been a model prisoner and is an active parent who is essential to the well-being of his son,” Nolan said.

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

English

Britain set to reveal spending plans for virus era

Published

on

By

Britain’s government, seeking to support the pandemic-ravaged economy and the nation’s post-Brexit future, on Wednesday unveils its eagerly-awaited spending plans.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak will deliver his spending review to parliament, one week before England ends a month of restrictions aimed at cutting a second wave of infections.

The chancellor of the exchequer will reveal the outcome of his review that will set state departmental resource and capital budgets for 2021/2022.

Britain’s rightwing government has already spent billions so far this year on battling economic fallout from the virus, subsidising private-sector jobs, and boosting the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

His speech comes amid a global race for vaccines that is strengthening hopes for a return to normality, particularly in Britain which has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe.

This week’s key review has attracted more attention than usual because the government decided in September to axe Sunak’s planned autumn budget due to chronic virus turmoil.

– ‘Economic shock laid bare’ –

Sunak warned last weekend that the British economy was under “enormous strain” because of Covid-19 — and ruled out cuts to public services amid soaring borrowing.

But he has refused to say whether he will impose a public sector pay freeze, angering unions and the main opposition Labour party.

Alongside the statement, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) watchdog will publish its latest economic growth forecasts, detailing the fallout from the pandemic.

“People will see the scale of the economic shock laid bare,” Sunak told the Sunday Times newspaper.

“We can see the data every month, and obviously the shock that our economy is facing at the moment is significant.”

The watchdog will also examine the impact of England’s latest virus restrictions that have sparked widespread concerns of a so-called double dip recession before an expected recovery in 2021.

Britain has been one of the worst-affected countries in the world in the outbreak, registering more than 54,000 deaths from 1.4 million cases.

– Borrowing set to rocket –

The OBR is also widely expected to reveal an explosion in public borrowing which could reach almost £400 billion for the current financial year, as public debt exceeds £2.0 trillion.

On Saturday, ahead of the spending review, the Treasury unveiled another £3 billion to support the NHS in tackling the impact of coronavirus.

As part of the package, £1 billion will be spent on addressing backlogs in the health service -– paying for up to one million extra checks, scans and additional operations for those who have had their treatment delayed since the outbreak began.

Sunak is also expected Wednesday to flesh out details of a vast £100-billion infrastructure investment plan to modernise the UK transport network and help combat climate change.

In November, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government imposed four weeks of tough restrictions in an attempt to stop surging virus infections.

Schools, colleges and universities have remained open to avoid disruption to education but shops and services deemed non-essential have been forced to close.

Office workers have also been told to work from home wherever possible.

The restrictions are due to be partially lifted on December 2, giving some relief to businesses.

But there could still be disruption, as Johnson said the country would revert to three tiers of restrictions according to infection rates.

The worst-affected areas could see businesses and services closed or restricted.

“We’re not going to release national measures with a free-for-all, a status quo ante covid,” he told parliament on Monday.

jbo-rfj/adp

Source link

Continue Reading

English

Biden cabinet: Inner circle get key posts as John Kerry named climate envoy

Published

on

By

Other key picks included long-time Biden aide Antony Blinken as secretary of state, while

reports say former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will be the choice for treasury secretary.

Source link

Continue Reading

English

U.N. says Carlos Ghosn's arrest was human rights violation

Published

on

By

U.N. says Carlos Ghosn's arrest was human rights violation

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending