The debate regarding inmate executions, namely the death penalty, at the federal level has surfaced yet again.
The finality of the death penalty has been a controversial subject for decades between the state and federal level, having been enacted and reversed many times.
Considering that the average wait time from a person being sentenced to death and the actual execution taking an average 15 years, it shows the amount of appeals afforded to those sentenced to properly fight the initial sentence.
Attorney General William Barr stated earlier this week he would be willing to take the administration’s fight to restart federal executions to the Supreme Court if necessary.
This comes as no surprise as the administration has been working fervently to achieve justice for the victims associated with those who are currently on death row.
Barr’s comments regarding his willingness to keep pushing the agenda came after U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ruled Thursday to postpone four of five scheduled executions for next month; the fifth already had been halted. The Trump administration has appealed the decision.
The government has put to death only three defendants since restoring the federal death penalty in 1988, most recently in 2003, when Louis Jones was executed for the 1995 kidnapping, rape and murder of a young soldier.
If the government were to win the appeal, the executions could begin as soon as December 9th of this year.
The logic behind wanting to resume scheduled executions that have exhausted appeals partly stems from the fact that nearly a quarter of inmates sentenced to death wind up dying from natural causes while sitting on death row, which can be perceived as robbed justice to the victims of heinous crimes.
Barr argued that the inmates who recently had their executions delayer were merely five of sixty-two inmates currently on death row.
He cited the impact that these kinds of postponements can have on the lives these inmates have adversely affected through their crimes, saying:
“There are people who would say these kinds of delays are not fair to the victims, so we can move forward with our first group.”
The inmates in question who benefited from the judge’s recent delay had already exhausted their appeals, and the cases were forwarded to senior Justice Department officials who reviewed the cases and made recommendations to him, as mentioned by Barr.
Some of the selected inmates challenged the new procedures in court, arguing that the government was circumventing appropriate methods in order to execute inmates hurriedly, and allegedly wrongly, too.
Judge Chutkan also said in her ruling that the public was not served by “short-circuiting” legitimate judicial processes. In her ruling she pointed out that:
“It is greatly served by attempting to ensure that the most serious punishment is imposed lawfully.”
Yet, if all appeals were exhausted, why is there continued snafus with proceeding with the outcome of the inmates sentence? It’s a murky subject muddled with years of anti-death penalty stances and advocates.
The issue of federal capital punishment has been cropping up throughout the year, such as this past July when Barr unexpectedly announced the government would resume executions later in the year, ending an informal suspension that had started after a review of issues pertaining to lethal injection drugs by the Justice Department under the Obama administration in 2014.
According to Barr, the review has been completed regarding the lethal injection fiasco, also adding that he approved a new procedure for lethal injections that would replace the flawed three-drug combination that was used in the past that drove the scrutiny initially.
Chutkan said in her opinion that the inmates’ legal challenge to the procedure was likely to succeed because the Federal Death Penalty Act required that federal executions employ procedures used by the states in which they’re carried out.
Still, Barr steadfastly defended the protocols this past Thursday, saying that the Bureau of Prisons has been testing and conducting practice drills ahead of the first execution. When detailing the aforementioned, Barr stated:
“I was kept advised and reports were given to me, scientific tests, the drills they are running through.”
However, Barr didn’t get into specifics as to which drugs would not be used during the commencing of executions.
Whatever the outcome is of the debate and court proceedings that are sure to come, we often lose focus on the victims of crime and spend too much time pondering the circumstances of individuals who managed to land themselves in their very predicament in the first case.
Need some convincing? Look no further than what’s happening in Connecticut.
Two men were convicted of brutally raping and murdering a young family in Connecticut in the Cheshire home invasion case. They were sentenced to death.
Then the Connecticut State Legislature abolished the death penalty – but for future cases.
Then in August 2015, in a final blow to the husband of the woman killed and the father of the young girls killed, the Connecticut Supreme Court defied the State Legislature and ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional, then commuted all death sentences to life-in-prison, even if that sentencing took place prior to the date that the death penalty was abolished.
Now is where it gets mind-blowing.
Taxpayers are now on the hook to not only cover the costs of Stephen Hayes’ incarceration (6 life sentences), but they are also footing the bill for Hayes to move forward with his newfound desire to transition into a woman. One of the men convicted of killing a woman and her two daughters in the 2007 Cheshire home invasion Hayes allegedly has only recently realized he is transgender and is undergoing hormone therapy in prison.
Hayes is one of two men convicted of murder in the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley. Hawke-Petit was raped and strangled by Hayes and the daughters died in the fire that was set shortly afterward. Hawke-Petit’s husband and the girls’ father, Dr. William Petit Jr., was beaten with a baseball bat at the outset of the home invasion but survived.
Hayes went on the record with Joe Tomaso, host of the podcast “15 Minutes With…”
Why anyone would give this man 15 minutes of fame is beyond us. But the silver lining is that Americans might start to realize how screwed up our judicial system is.
Hayes still maintains that he was only guilty of committing a robbery.
“I’m not a monster,” Hayes has said. “It really wrecked me when I found out what happened. My life is ruined over all this. Everybody’s life is ruined. Do not do it. Nothing works out. Look at me. It’s absolutely not worth it. Unfortunately, we don’t get do-overs.”
Hayes claims he never went upstairs during the invasion, where the two young girls were tied to their beds, left to die in the arson fire. He continues to put the blame his co-conspirator in the Cheshire case, Joshua Komisarjevsky.
Hayes was transferred from Connecticut to a Pennsylvania prison about a year ago, where he was put into the general population. He is one of two transgender inmates at the Pennsylvania prison and there are many problems with presenting as a female.
In order to aid in his transition, he claims to have been taking hormone injections for the past 18 months. A spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Correction said in an email that Hayes’ medical information is protected by privacy laws. They could neither confirm nor deny his claim of receiving hormones.
As such, it could not be immediately determined who is providing the hormones Hayes claims to have been taking for 18 months.
In one of the podcast interviews, Hayes told Tomaso that only after going through his files, did he find out that he was ‘diagnosed’ with gender dysphoria at age 16, but his family never addressed the issue.
In a letterHayes wrote:
“Last year I did finally openly admit my personal truth that I am transgender and lived a life of severe gender dysphoria.”
According to his own statements, he didn’t know he was transgender until he read those records from his teenage years. Convenient. Ever heard of Bradley/Chelsea Manning?
In 2013, a military judge on sentenced PFC Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison. He had leaked the largest cache of classified documents in U.S. history.
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Manning was acquitted of the most serious charge he faced — aiding the enemy — but was convicted of multiple other counts, including violations of the Espionage Act, for copying and disseminating classified military field reports, State Department cables, and assessments of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Manning was sentenced to serve out his time at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Somewhere after he began serving his time, there was a shift in the narrative.
Che claimed to have started identifying as a woman in 2010, right around the time of his arrest.
He was sentenced to 35 years in 2013. He wound up in solitary confinement, being considered a suicide risk. Manning requested a move to the female side of Leavenworth. The Army denied that request.
In 2015, he was authorized to undergo hormone treatment, with the green light to undergo transition surgery coming in 2016.
Guess who was paying for that process? If you said the American taxpayers, you are correct.
And then to make matters worse, in one of his final acts as President, Barak Obama, citing the issues Manning was facing as a transitioning woman in a male facility, granted Manning clemency. He was pardoned in January of 2017 and released in May of the same year.
David French wrote in the National Review:
“Manning isn’t a woman in need of rescue. He’s a soldier who committed serious crimes. He … just dumped hundreds of thousands of classified documents into the public domain … without the slightest regard for the lives of others. Manning is a traitor who pled guilty to a lesser offense to avoid the full penalty for his crimes … [President] Obama’s commutation of his sentence is a disgrace.”
On May 31, 2018, the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appealsupheld Chelsea Manning’s 2013 court-martial conviction of violating the Espionage Act.
In a 26-page opinion issued Thursday, a three-judge appellate panel affirmed the results of the 2013 court-martial that ended with the Army intelligence analyst being ordered to spend 35 years in military prison.
“We are confident that based on the entire record and appellant’s course of conduct, the military judge would have imposed a sentence of at least that which was adjudged,” Senior Judge Col. Lorianne Campanella wrote on behalf of the panel.
“We AFFIRM the sentence as adjudged and approved,” the appeal court ruled. “We find this reassessed sentence is not only purged of any error but is also appropriate.”
Obama’s pardon paved the way for the appeal ruling to be rendered mostly moot.
Enter Hayes. Is it possible that he is using the Manning strategy to mount his own defense to seek a pardon or clemency to skirt the six life sentences that he is serving?
Keep your eyes open. If he seeks a transfer to the women’s facility, I would say that the above question will start to answer itself.
What logical sense does it require to think it is a good idea to move a man, who was convicted of raping, torturing and killing a woman, to a jail full of women?
Only time will tell. In the meantime, I am tired of my tax dollars paying for these procedures.