By William McCurry
TERRA HAUTE, IN – Despite other political events – like the Capitol assault by pro-Trump forces last week – the Trump administration is still rushing to execute three more people on death row before leaving Trump leaves office, apparently making it one of their final priorities before the Biden administration takes office.
The Trump administration is rushing to execute three members of death row on January 12, 14 and 15. One member will be executed each day – Lisa Montgomery to be the first, then Corey Johnson, and lastly, Dustin Higgs.
Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution, points out that these executions are particularly unjust by pointing out certain factors in each of their cases.
(Editor’s Note: A federal judge early today/Tuesday morning halted Montgomery’s execution with only hours to spare. Judge James Hanlon of the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana wrote in the order, “Ms. Montgomery’s motion to stay execution is GRANTED to allow the Court to conduct a hearing to determine Ms. Montgomery’s competence to be executed.” A date has not yet been set for the competency hearing.)
Montgomery is nearly 70 years old and has a documented history of mental illness. She was a victim physical and sexual abuse from a young age and very little of this information was introduced to the jury, claim supporters.
Corey Johnson, in his childhood, experienced an intense amount of trauma and violence, noted lawyers, who argue that he has an intellectual disability and this was never shared at trial.
Dustin Higgs was sentenced to death for murder even though the state acknowledges that he did not kill anyone himself.
Krinsky states that “the death penalty is an increasingly disavowed form of punishment that disproportionately impacts people of color, risks executing people who are innocent and does nothing to deter crime or improve public safety.”
She strongly asserts why the death penalty should not be rushed by the Trump administration prior to leaving office.
In a joint statement, 100 current and former criminal justice leaders stressed that “our nation’s long experiment with the death penalty has failed…. We also now know that we have not executed the worst of the worst, but often instead put to death the unluckiest of the unlucky – the impoverished, the poorly represented, and the most broken.”
Both Krinsky and other former and current criminal justice leaders stress that the death penalty should not be imposed and that it is an injustice to the people who have been punished and who the Trump administration is trying to punish.
William McCurry is a fourth year at Sacramento State, majoring in Criminal Justice. He is from Brentwood, California.
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