US Federal Death Penalty – Urgent Action

Lisa Montgomery due to be executed on 12 January 2020

After a seventeen year pause, the Trump/Pence administration resumed executions under Federal law in July 2020 and these are still going on, even during the transition period to the new Biden/Harris administration. Federal executions take place under direct control from Washington DC, rather than the jurisdiction of individual states jurisdiction. State level executions have been less frequent this year, even in states such as Texas, because the global pandemic has hit many US prisons very hard and delayed elements of the process such as legal visits, interviews and appeals.

Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on Federal death row, had her December execution delayed because two of her lawyers have Covid-19. She has just been given a new execution date, 12th January 2021.

The other executions scheduled are for Brandon Bernard (10th December – Human Rights Day), Alfred Bourgeois (11th December), Cory Johnson (14th January) and Dustin Higgs (15th January – Martin Luther King day).

The new Biden/Harris administration comes into office on 20th January and we have to hope for a change at that time. The outgoing Trump/Pence administration seems determined not only to see all the scheduled executions through while it can, but has actually added three men to the list.  President Trump was pictured in the news earlier this week, giving a ceremonial pardon to a Thanksgiving turkey and making a big joke of it. If only he could be so compassionate towards human beings.

Please complete the urgent action:

Use the updated wording in this email (changes to the online text are in bold).

I am writing to ask to call off the executions of five people convicted under USA federal law, currently set for 10 and 11 December 2020 and for 12, 14 and 15 January 2021.

With eight executions carried out since July, your administration has now put to death more people in 2020 than the rest of the country combined; and has tripled the total number of federal executions recorded since 1977, when US judicial killings resumed in the post-Furman v. Georgia era.

This relentless pursuit of executions has not only put the spotlight on the flaws and arbitrariness that have long affected the USA death penalty system, but has also shown cruel contempt on the part of the administration for safeguards and restrictions established under international law and standards to guarantee protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty. Racial bias and flawed legal representation are some of the common factors that have contributed to unreliable judicial decisions on life or death, including for people with severe mental and intellectual disabilities. I ask you to intervene and lead the urgent review of the broken USA death penalty system. 

As of today, 22 US states and the District of Columbia have abolished the death penalty, and 11 others have not carried out executions in more than 10 years. 

In addition, if you would like to send a personal card to offer your support to these five people, please send a message to Patrick, our Lewes Amnesty Group death penalty coordinator ( who can give you their details. It will mean a huge amount to them.