NewsPublic Affairs / August 13, 2020

Attorneys For Condemned Federal Inmate Ask Judge To Delay Execution

The United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, IN. houses federal death row. - Adam Pinsker/WFIU-WTIU News

The United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, IN. houses federal death row.

Adam Pinsker/WFIU-WTIU News

Attorneys for a Native American man set to be executed Aug. 26 in Indiana say the government isn’t following proper execution protocols.

Lezmond Mitchell, a member of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, was convicted of murdering a grandmother and her granddaughter in 2001.

Documents filed in Arizona Federal Court say the Bureau of Prisons is in violation of a 1937 statute that says: “The manner of inflicting the punishment of death shall be the manner prescribed by the laws of the State within which the sentence is imposed.”

All federal executions are conducted at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.  Attorney General William Barr allowed federal executions to resume this year using a single drug Pentobarbital.

Mitchell’s attorneys say the state of Arizona, which also uses lethal injection, has “robust and time tested” procedures for conducting an execution with lethal injection.  They say the newly created Bureau of Prisons methods “have limited safety measures.”

The federal government conducted three executions in one week without incident last month under its new protocols.

Prior to 2001, federal executions were held in the states where the crimes took place and followed that state’s method of execution.

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