July 17, 2020

Dustin Honken Executed

Three Men in Four Days, First Federal Government Executions in 17 Years


July 17, 2020

Contact: Nancy Rodriguez media@acslaw.org 

Washington, D.C.  – American Constitution Society President Russ Feingold released the following statement today in response to the execution of Dustin Lee Honken (also view ACS's Death Penalty in America Resource Page):

“This is the third execution carried out by our government over a period of four days. It is a tragedy and an insult to all Americans that these men’s lives were taken by our government in direct violation of their constitutional rights.

“Killing these men was the administration’s choice, pure and simple. Other punishment options were available, but the administration chose execution, disregarding the rights and protections the Constitution affords the criminally accused and convicted. These tragedies also serve as horrific examples of how cases brought under the Federal Death Penalty Act are often plagued by ineffective legal counsel, junk science, and lack of appellate review and other procedural deficiencies. And the fact that the three men the government chose to kill this week were all white does nothing to paper over the racism inherent in the system.

“The government’s decision to proceed with these executions at lightning speed and with total disregard for these men’s rights also runs counter to the will of the people. The public’s support for the death penalty is at a record low. Americans now favor life imprisonment without parole over execution for those convicted of murder and they see the death penalty for what it is: a capricious and cruel practice from years gone by. The administration needs to change course and join the vast majority of states that have either abolished the death penalty or have not carried out executions in more than a decade, in moving beyond this arbitrary and cruel practice.”


ACS believes that the Constitution is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We interpret the Constitution based on its text and against the backdrop of history and lived experience. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, and many others, we work to uphold the Constitution in the 21st Century by ensuring that law is a force for protecting our democracy and the public interest and for improving people’s lives. For more information, visit us at www.acslaw.org or on Twitter @acslaw.