Death penalty in the US: Trump administration wants to allow shooting and gassing

In addition to death by lethal injection, the US government plans to reintroduce other methods of execution.

As of December 24, executions will be carried out using any execution method that is legal in the state: A jailer in Texas. (Archive image)

Reuters/Richard Carson

In addition to death by lethal injection, the US government also wants to allow other methods of execution such as shootings, the electric chair or the use of lethal gas. This emerges from the amendment to a provision for the execution of the death penalty for criminals convicted at the federal level, which was published on Friday in the official gazette of the federal government.

From December 24th, executions should be carried out using all execution methods that are legal in the state in which the sentence was given. Most executions were carried out by lethal injection, but laws in some states provide alternatives. In Mississippi and Oklahoma, for example, the use of gas, the electric chair and firing squads are generally permitted. In Tennessee, for example, a prisoner was executed on the electric chair in December.

Biden rejects the death penalty

It was initially unclear whether the Justice Department of incumbent President Donald Trump actually planned to change the previous practice of lethal injection. The department is planning several more federal executions of convicted criminals until President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. The Democrat Biden rejects the death penalty. Republican Trump had enforced the reintroduction of executions at the federal level.

While many US states are executing the death penalty, there had been no federal executions since 2003. Since then, the death penalty has continued to be imposed but not carried out. The legal battle over the resumption of executions had dragged on to the Supreme Court in Washington, but the government prevailed. The first three executions were carried out by lethal injection in July in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Overall, the death penalty is on the decline in the United States. In many places this has to do with changing public opinion, but also with increasing difficulties in obtaining the substances required for lethal injection. In addition, the death penalty tends to lead to lengthy – and costly – legal disputes. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 15 people have been executed in the United States so far in 2020, eight of them at the federal level.

(SDA / chk)

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