Supreme Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling Halting Federal Executions

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Supreme Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling Halting Federal Executions

The ruling comes as an anti-death penalty group held a forum in Terre Haute.

 

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Executions at the federal prison in Terre Haute are still on hold after they were supposed to resume last month.

Five inmates were scheduled to be executed starting last month, but a US District Judge Tanya Chutkan of the District of Columbia blocked those executions from happening. The Supreme Court, on Friday, upheld the ruling from the lower court judge after an appeal by the Trump Administration. 

On Sunday, the group known as Death Penalty Action held a forum in Terre Haute on why the death penalty is wrong and how it should not be allowed to continue. The group also marched on the federal courthouse.

Bill Pelke was one of several people that attended the forum. He told the story about his grandmother who was stabbed 33 times by a teenage girl back in 1985. He was originally supportive of her sentence to death, but his mind changed over time.

"She was 15 years old at the time of the crime and she was given the electric chair by the state of Indiana," he said. "I know my grandmother would have been appalled at that. She actually would have shown her some compassion."

"As long as human beings decide who is going to live and die, we're going to make mistakes," Pelke added. "Why do we kill people to show other people that killing is wrong. That just doesn't make sense."

Judge Chutkan's ruling states the public interest is not served by "executing individuals before they have had the opportunity to avail themselves of legitimate procedures to challenge the legality of their executions."

The Supreme Court agreed with her assessment and in Friday's brief order said it expects that the lower court will work with "appropriate dispatch" to issue a final opinion in the case.

(PHOTO: John Sommers II/Getty Images)

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