• WBST 92.1 FMMuncie
  • WBSB 89.5 FMAnderson
  • WBSW 90.9 FMMarion
  • WBSH 91.1 FMHagerstown / New Castle
Indiana Public Radio, a listener-supported service of Ball State University

Anti-Death Penalty Group Petitions Attorney General To Halt Federal Executions At Terre Haute

By Adam Pinsker, IPB News | Published on in Crime, Government, Health
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. (United States Department of Justice)

Three more executions are scheduled to take place at the federal death row in Terre Haute just days before President-Elect Joe Biden takes office.  Anti-death penalty activists have gathered 20,000 signatures, hoping to stop them.

The group Death Penalty Action sent a petition to Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, asking him to delay or withdraw three executions scheduled for the new year.   Rosen took over as attorney general December 24 upon the resignation of his predecessor, William Barr.

“We now know these executions are super spreader events,” said Director Abraham Bonowitz.

Lisa Montgomery is scheduled for execution January 12, Corey Johnson’s execution is January 14, and Dustin Higgs execution is January 15.

Higgs and Johnson tested positive for the coronavirus earlier in December.  Their attorneys have asked the Department of Justice to delay their clients’ executions.

Covid-19 cases among staff and other inmates at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute where federal executions are carried out have also increased.

Bonowitz said he hopes Rosen considers the safety of the staff who travel to and from the prison complex.

“How he values the employees of the U.S. Marshal’s service of the Bureau of Prisons, of whatever other departments, his own attorneys, whoever has to go to Terre Haute.”

The Trump Administration resumed federal executions in July after 17-year hiatus.  He became the first president to schedule executions during a transition period between administrations since the late 1800’s

Bonowitz’s group also submitted signatures to the Biden Transition, calling on the President-Elect to abolish the federal death penalty.

“That resulted in a meeting we had yesterday (Tuesday) for the person in charge of human rights and intergovernmental affairs.”

As a candidate, Biden campaigned on ending the federal death penalty.