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Justice Dept. plans three greater executions in lame-duck period

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice branch has scheduled three extra federal executions all over the lame-duck length earlier than President-elect Joe Biden takes workplace, together with two simply days before his inauguration.

The announcement comes a day after the federal Bureau of Prisons conducted the eighth federal execution this 12 months after a 17-yr hiatus, and it is probably going to boost force on Biden to take a public stance on even if his administration would proceed to schedule executions as soon as he is sworn in. Advocacy businesses have referred to as on the Trump administration to pause all executions until Biden takes office.

Representatives for the Biden transition team didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment Friday nighttime.

In a court docket submitting Friday nighttime, the Justice branch mentioned it turned into scheduling the executions of Alfred Bourgeois for Dec. 11 and Cory Johnson and Dustin Higgs for Jan. 14 and 15. Two other executions had already been scheduled for this yr, including the first lady scheduled to be executed through the federal government in about six many years — even though on Thursday, a federal choose dominated that execution could not proceed before the end of the year.

Prosecutors say Bourgeois tortured, sexually molested, after which beat his two-and-a-half-yr-old daughter to dying. court information say Bourgeois repeatedly beat the younger woman and punched her within the face, whipped her with an electrical cord and beat her with a belt so hard that it broke. He additionally allegedly burned her toes with a cigarette lighter and hit her within the head with a baseball bat unless her head swelled.

Johnson become one among three crack cocaine dealers convicted in a string of murders. Prosecutors mentioned he killed seven americans in in an try and extend the territory of a Richmond, Virginia, gang and silence informants. His co-defendants James H. Roane Jr. and Richard Tipton, participants of identical drug gang, are also on death row.

Johnson’s attorneys argue their customer is intellectually disabled, and as a result it would be unconstitutional to position him to death. The Supreme court docket has held that it is prohibited to execute an individual who is of any such low intelligence that they can’t function in society.

however they argue that “no jury or court has ever listened to the evidence at a listening to to come to a decision if he has highbrow incapacity.”

“We are not aware of every other federal demise penalty prisoner who has in no way had a single evidentiary listening to at which he could latest his highbrow incapacity proof. The government may still now not proceed with Mr. Johnson’s execution in the absence of a radical and reasonable opportunity for him to existing this facts,” the legal professionals, Ronald J. Tabak and Donald P. Salzman, pointed out in an announcement.

Higgs changed into convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of three ladies, Tamika Black, Mishann Chinn and Tanji Jackson, at a federal flora and fauna center near Beltsville, Maryland. Prosecutors say Higgs and two others kidnapped the girls after Higgs grew to become enraged as a result of one of the women rebuffed his advances at celebration.

Higgs’ lawyer, Sean Nolan, said his client didn’t kill anybody, had ineffective attorneys and didn’t deserve the demise penalty. Higgs’ co-defendant, who prosecutors stated performed the killings, turned into now not sentenced to demise and Nolan mentioned it is “arbitrary and inequitable to punish Mr. Higgs greater severely than the grownup who committed the murders.”

“Mr. Higgs deserves clemency on account of the unfair sentencing disparity … and since, regardless of the tragedy and problem of his formative years, he has been a model prisoner and is an lively mum or dad who is simple to the neatly-being of his son,” Nolan referred to.