November 20, 2020

Orlando Hall’s Execution Continues Administration’s Unprecedented Blood Lust at the Expense of Justice

Contact: Nancy Rodriguez

Washington, D.C.  – American Constitution Society President Russ Feingold released the following statement in response to the federal government’s execution of Orlando Hall, the second Black man to be executed since the federal death penalty was reinstated after a seventeen-year moratorium.

“Today, the federal government has broken its own ghastly record with the execution of Orlando Hall.

This is the eighth execution in the mere four months since the Trump administration abruptly ended, without justification, the seventeen-year moratorium on federal executions. Not since before the turn of the twentieth century—if ever—has the federal government executed so many people in such rapid succession. With Mr. Hall’s execution, the federal government has put to death this year twice as many people as it executed in the prior sixty-three years combined.

The historical speed and scope with which these executions were undertaken is matched only by the aberrant decision of this administration to move forward with Mr. Hall’s execution in the midst of a transition into a new presidential administration. Never before in modern history has a lame duck president had the temerity to execute someone during this sensitive and, in this case, fraught period of transition.

Moreover, Mr. Hall, the second Black man to be executed since the end of the federal moratorium, was sentenced to death by an all-white jury. The prosecution struck four of the five eligible Black jurors, aided by a prosecutor whom the United States Supreme Court had found, in a different capital case, engaged in a pattern of racially-motivated strikes of Black jurors and lied about his actions to conceal his misconduct. It is beyond dispute that the death penalty is irrevocably infected with racism. That racism is on full display with Mr. Hall’s execution.

Only blood lust can explain this administration’s seemingly singular focus on killing as many people as possible from the federal death row before President Trump’s term comes to an end. But blood lust is not a substitute for justice.”


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