'Simply unthinkable': Law officers call for halt to Trump's executions
A group consisting of more than 90 law enforcement officials have penned a letter urging federal authorities to halt the executions President Donald Trump has scheduled throughout the final weeks of his presidency.
In the letter, the group, which consists of "current and former prosecutors, state attorneys general, police chiefs and sheriffs" expressed concerns about the president's actions going forward "claiming that the uncertain transition period and resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic risk undermining confidence in the criminal justice system," according to USA Today.
"When people believe the state is executing a person, or applying the death penalty unjustly... their trust in our system of government and law enforcement is undermined," the officials stated.
This year, the Trump administration sharply increased the country's death penalty usage, executing a total of eight inmates. The president has two scheduled this month and an additional three set to take place in January before he leaves office. The group argues that the expedited schedule appears to be a "rush" despite the threat that the pandemic poses.
They also expressed concern about the difficulty lawyers are facing amid the pandemic.
"It is impossible for attorneys to effectively represent their clients during this time, either in clemency or in their motions to stay or reverse the sentence of death," the group said. "At a time when the country is struggling through a deadly pandemic, spending scarce resources to carry out federal executions and forcing defense lawyers to risk their lives to defend clients on death row is simply unthinkable."
Miriam Krinsky, a former federal prosecutor and executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution, criticized Trump's execution schedule as she described it as a "sad legacy" for the Trump administration to leave.
"It is ironic that his focus seems to be reserved for those who are close to him or for political payback," she said. "It is yet another example of system failure."
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