Federal Appeals Court Rules on Execution

Federal Appeals Court Rules on Execution

There hasn’t been a federal execution in the US for almost 20 years. That, however, is about to change. Recently, a federal appeals court overturned a lower court’s order. The lower court’s order delayed the execution of an inmate due to concern over COVID-19.

47-year-old Daniel Lewis Lee was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at a federal prison in Indiana on Monday. Lee killed a gun dealer, the dealer’s wife, and their daughter in Arkansas back in 1996. Chief District Judge, Jane Magnus-Stinson, in Indiana had ruled that the execution was to be delayed due to the victims’ family having concerns surrounding COVID. The Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the appeals court to overturn the order effective immediately; stating that Judge Magnus-Stinson’s order misunderstood the law.

The appeals court found that the claims made by the victims’ family lacked any credible support and was deemed insignificant. It was also argued by the DOJ that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has taken the essential steps to ensure the safety of the victims’ family. The appeal followed a BOP employee testing positive for COVID-19; the DOJ insisted that the government’s timetable would not be delayed further despite the setback. The DOJ further asserted the employee had not been in the execution chamber and didn’t make contact with anyone else.

The victim’s family argued: they weren’t trying to overturn Daniel’s penalty, despite requests to not execute Lee being sent to the DOJ and President Trump. The family hopes there is no execution; they’d rather Lee serve a long life sentence instead.

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