U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI-03) recently joined U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07) in sponsoring a bill that would prohibit the federal death penalty. The bill, submitted on Thursday, came the same day the Department of Justice announced it would resume federal executions after a nearly two-decade lapse.
“Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. “The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”
Amash is one of 12 co-sponsors of the bill and the only one not a member of the Democratic Party. He called federal executions a “horrendous practice” in a tweet about the bill.
Michigan abolished capital punishment in 1846. The U.S. government has had a moratorium on this horrendous practice since 2003. Now, President Trump and AG Barr want to resume executions. This week, I joined @RepPressley to introduce a bill to prohibit the federal death penalty. pic.twitter.com/lW5bZKS332
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) July 26, 2019
The bill would prohibit the execution for any violation of federal law, as well as initiate the resentencing of anyone who currently has been sentenced to death.
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person may be sentenced to death or put to death on or after the date of enactment of this Act for any violation of Federal law,” the bill reads. “Any person sentenced to death before the date of enactment of this Act of any violation of Federal law shall be resentenced.”
Other notable co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex (D-NY-14) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05). These three legislators, with the addition of Pressley, make up four women of color in Congress that recent reports have called “The Squad.”
Michigan was the first state to abolish the death penalty, doing so in 1846.
There are currently five death-row inmates with pending executions.
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