Contact: Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, [email protected], 816-931-4177
Two warrantless federal executions have now taken place, will there be a third?
(Missouri) — The federal government has now executed both Daniel Lee (executed 7/15/20) and Wesley Purkey (executed 7/16/20) this week in what attorneys are calling “illegal and warrantless executions.” Violations of the Federal Death Penalty Act, and dismissals by the United States Supreme Court of legitimate claims for stays have been noted by prominent litigation specialists, advocacy groups, and faith leaders from around the country. Both executions occurred after midnight deadlines of the death warrants leading many, including Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, to call for federal investigations into the matter of the process and protocol of each federal execution.
Tomorrow Dustin Honken, of Iowa, is scheduled to be executed at 3PM CST. If the execution occurs he will become the third person on federal death row to be executed during the Department of Justice’s rapid fire series of executions this summer.
Dustin Honken received the death penalty in 2005 for the 1993 killings of five people, Greg Nicholson, Lori Ann Duncan and her two daughters, Amber and Kandace. Dustin Honken was originally scheduled to be executed on January 15, 2020, but the execution was postponed due to a preliminary injunction based on the lethal injection method. Attorney General William Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the three executions starting July 13th, 15th and 17th leading to the executions of Mr. Lee and Mr. Purkey, and now possibly Mr. Honken. Mr. Honken has asked federal courts in Indiana to retain jurisdiction over his claim that the Bureau of Prisons is imposing unconstitutional and unlawful limitations on his priests ability to minister to him before and during his execution.
Shawn Nolan, Attorney for Mr. Honken stated, “Dustin Lee Honken has served twelve years on federal death row in solitary confinement as a result of proceedings that reflect many of the fundamental flaws in the federal death penalty system. Mr. Honken’s death sentence was imposed for murders committed in the state of Iowa, which abolished the death penalty in 1965, and which could have prosecuted Mr. Honken in state court. Additionally, his trial and sentencing were plagued by misconduct and the ineffectiveness of counsel, who failed to adequately inform Mr. Honken’s jury of his severely dysfunctional background or his resultant mental health problems. He was then denied full and fair review of these defects in federal habeas proceedings.
“Despite these flaws, each of which implicates essential constitutional guarantees, the government now seeks to execute Mr. Honken, a deeply remorseful and devout Catholic and loving father of two children.”
The courts have not had time to resolve Mr. Hokins claims, yet the federal government now seeks to rush forward with his execution tomorrow.
As seen in the two previous federal executions this week, the Department of Justice is operating outside of the boundaries of the law. The Supreme Court of the United states has continued to cast split votes as it relates to death penalty decisions with Justice Breyer, writing for himself and Justice Ginsburg: “I remain convinced of the importance of reconsidering the constitutionality of the death penalty itself.”
MADP will host an execution watch and vigil in Kansas City, MO tomorrow for all victims of the death penalty from 2:30 – 3:30 CST PM in front of the Federal Courthouse – 400 E 9th Street, KCMO.
Social Distancing and mask wearing is mandatory for all in person events. In addition, there will be a live virtual vigil from Terre Haute, Indiana where the executions take place hosted by Death Penalty Action: https://www.facebook.com/deathpenaltyaction/.
Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the use of the death penalty in the state of Missouri.