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Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day

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The Trump administration has five executions scheduled before President-elect Joe Biden takes office in less than two months, a record for the most federal executions to take place in a presidential transition period. 

Since Attorney General William Barr ended a 17-year pause on the punishment in July, the federal government has executed eight inmates. 

Orlando Cordia Hall, 49, was executed last week after a federal jury in 1995 found him guilty of kidnapping, raping and killing a Texas teenager. 

Two additional federal inmates are scheduled for execution in December

Alfred Bourgeois, a Black man, was sentenced to death by a Texas jury for abusing, torturing and beating his daughter to death in 2002, and is scheduled to be executed on Dec. 11

Brandon Bernard, 40, is set to be the youngest person in nearly 70 years executed by the United States for a crime committed when he was a teenager. He is scheduled for a Dec. 10 execution. 

The Justice Department has also scheduled three executions in January, within days of Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. 

Lisa Montgomery, 52, is scheduled to be executed on Jan. 12. Montgomery is the only woman on federal death row and the first to be executed in more than 60 years. Montgomery was convicted in 2004 for killing a pregnant woman and cutting the baby out. 

Last Friday, the Justice Department announced that Cory Johnson, who was convicted of murdering seven people, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Jan. 14. 

The statement also included the scheduled execution of Dustin John Higgs, who was convicted in 2000 of kidnapping and murdering three women. His execution is set to take place on Jan. 15. 

Biden has vowed to end federal executions upon taking office and to incentivize states to halt the practice as well. 

Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center Robert Dunham told CNN, which first reported on the execution schedule, that the only other time more than one execution occurred during a transition period was during Grover Cleveland’s first transition from November 1884 to March 1885. 

“What is clear is that this administration wants these prisoners dead before Joe Biden takes office,” Dunham said. 

While states carry out executions each year, federal executions had been rare until this year. 

If the remaining executions are carried out, the federal government would have mandated the executions of 13 federal death row inmates in six months. 

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1970s that executions were unconstitutional, but later reversed this decision. Under the 1994 Federal Death Penalty Act, federal executions were only allowed for specific offenses, such as homicide and non-homicide drug convictions.

Tags CNN death penalty Death row Donald Trump Joe Biden federal executions Inauguration day Joe Biden Justice Department Lethal injection Supreme Court William Barr

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