Direct federal prosecutors not to seek the death penalty

  • by: david seth
  • target: Attorney General Eric Holder
The previous 3 Attorney Generals of the United States withdrew authority for seeking the death penalty from local US Attorneys and directed those prosecutors to seek the death penalty in various cases.  One reason for directing that the death penalty be sought was politics, an attempt to "federalize" the death penalty, a desire to hold death penalty trials in places in which execution was not permitted under state law.  Now that there is a new Attorney General, and a new philosophy in the Department of Justice about what cases are appropriate for execution, it is essential that each of the pending 49 federal death penalty cases be reviewed, and if the Attorney General is not satisfied that death is appropriate, that the Attorney General direct federal prosecutors not to seek the death penalty. This may save as many as 49 lives.  This will not result in the release of the accused, but it limits the maximum penalty to life without parole.
We the undersigned request that you review all pending federal death penalty cases and that you forbid prosecutors from seeking executions if the cases do not meet your criteria.

The previous 3 Attorney Generals of the United States withdrew authority for seeking the death penalty from local US Attorneys and directed those prosecutors to seek the death penalty in various cases.  One reason for directing that the death penalty be sought was politics, an attempt to "federalize" the death penalty, a desire to hold death penalty trials in places in which execution was not permitted under state law.  Now that you are the new Attorney General, and there is a new philosophy in the Department of Justice about what federal cases are appropriate for execution, it is essential that each of the pending 49 federal death penalty cases be reviewed.  If you, as Attorney General, are not satisfied that death is appropriate, you should direct federal prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.

This may save as many as 49 lives.  This will not result in the release of the accused, but it limits the maximum penalty to life without parole.

We urge you to order a review of each of the pending, federal death penalty cases and to forbid prosecutors from seeking the death penalty in all of the cases that do not meet the appropriate criteria for that extreme penalty.

Thank you for considering this issue.
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