Monday, January 11, 2021

Judge stops three federal executions set for Trump's final week

A federal judge in Indiana ruled that three federal executions set for Trump's final week as president, including the first of a woman in nearly 70 years, could not go forward unless prison authorities made significant changes to coronavirus prevention measures during the process, reported The New York Times.

The preliminary injunction, from Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, came in a class-action lawsuit brought by two inmates at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Ind., where federal executions are held. The inmates, who are not on death row but in a separate, medium-security part of the complex, argued, in part, that the 10 executions the Trump administration’s prison authorities have carried out since July exposed them to a substantial risk of contracting the virus.

The Trump administration has appealed prior attempts to block or delay executions, and the Supreme Court has allowed each one to proceed.

During the pandemic, executions have drawn scrutiny for their potential to become super-spreader events. Each brings about 50 to 125 people to the Terre Haute prison complex, according to an estimate by the Bureau of Prisons, an arm of the Justice Department. Those fighting to halt executions have contended that the number of people involved is in the hundreds.

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