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Hundreds of Organizations Urge President, AG to Halt Federal & Military Death Penalty

Timed to coincide with the delivery of a new letter from Members of Congress to the Biden Administration’s Attorney General, Rev. Sharon Risher, Chairwoman of the board of directors of Death Penalty Action, will announce the delivery of an organizational letter to President Biden (copied to Attorney General Garland), signed by more than 275 organizations and accompanied by more than 20,000 petition signatures. A Congressional sign-on letter being organized by Senator Richard Durbin and Rep. Ayanna Pressley will be delivered today to Attorney General Merrick Garland. Durbin and Pressley are the lead sponsors on the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act, which has the bi-partisan and bi-cameral support of nearly 100 Members of Congress.

“We are urging the Biden Administration to do everything they can to stop seeking new federal and military death sentences, commute the existing death sentences under their jurisdiction, and to order the demolition of the federal death house at Terre Haute, Indiana,” said Risher, whose mother, two cousins and six others were killed by a man currently on federal death row. Risher advocates to end the death penalty because his death sentence lingers over me and my family too, and we don’t want to be reminded of his horrific actions every time another appeal comes up.”


Below is the full text of the letter.


President Joseph R. Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:


Your declared intention to abolish the federal death penalty has our sturdy support. At the same time, we must express our dismay at the lack of progress toward your stated goal, or even an indication of your intent to implement policy shifts that are within your power as President to enact unilaterally.


We were further dismayed at the vote against the UN Resolution for a Worldwide Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty by the United States at the United Nations General Assembly on December 15, 2022. We consider that a “missed opportunity” to send a clear message both globally and within the United States that your Administration considers executions to be unacceptable in all cases.


As you are aware, this abhorrent and outdated punishment raises profound concerns, including the arbitrariness of its application, its inherent racial bias, and the alarming rate of innocence among those sentenced to death. Ending the federal and military death penalty is not only an important step toward correcting myriad flaws in the criminal legal system in the United States, it is both good governance and a moral imperative.


The good news is that it is not too late to act decisively. We urge you to exhibit leadership to make federal executions impossible by taking the following immediate actions:


Commute the sentences of those currently on federal and military death rows;


Deauthorize all pending federal capital trial cases and establish guidelines prohibiting authorization of any new death penalty prosecutions during your administration;


Rescind the lethal injection protocol; rescind the “Manner of Execution”

regulation that took effect in December 2020; rescind internal DOJ guidelines on litigating death row cases that took effect in December 2020;


Order the Federal Bureau of Prisons to demolish the federal execution chamber and the building in which it is housed at the Federal Correctional Institution at Terre Haute;


Pledge to support and sign the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act (H.R. 262/S.B. 582), which abolishes federal and military death penalty laws, removes the possibility of death sentences, and mandates fair re-sentencing of those currently on federal and military death rows.


We and a burgeoning number of our partner organizations around the country and internationally stand ready to support you in this giant leap toward a more just United States. We are grateful that under your administration there have been no additional executions of federal prisoners.


Thank you for your immediate action.


Sincerely,


Rev. Sharon Risher

Chair, Death Penalty Action

Daughter of Ethel Lance, whose killer is a prisoner on Federal Death Row


289 Signing organizations as of 5pm ET on January 2, 2023


Including these leading national organizations:


  • American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

  • Amnesty International USA

  • Association of U.S. Catholic Priests

  • Catholic Mobilizing Network

  • Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE)

  • Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty

  • Death Penalty Action

  • Death Penalty Focus

  • Democrats For Life of America

  • The Eighth Amendment Project

  • EJUSA Evangelical Network

  • Episcopal Peace Fellowship

  • Equal Justice USA

  • Faithful America

  • Franciscan Action Network

  • Human Rights Watch

  • The Innocence Project

  • L'chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty

  • LIVEFREE USA

  • Methodist Federation for Social Action

  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

  • National Association of Social Workers

  • National Lawyers Guild - Midwest Region

  • NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

  • Pax Christi USA

  • Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

  • Red Letter Christians

  • Rehumanize International

  • The United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society

  • Uri L'Tzedek: The Orthodox Social Justice Movement

  • Vote Common Good

  • War Resisters League

  • Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

  • Witness to Innocence


Full list, Alphabetized


Adrian Dominican Sisters

AFDA - Advocates for Friends in Death Row

Ahimsa

Alabama CURE

North Alabama Peace Network

Alaskans Against a Death Penalty

All Are One Roman Catholic Church, Winona, MN

Alle Querce di Mamre - Como

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

Amnesty International USA

Amnesty International France

Amnesty International Florida

Amnesty International Group 4

Amnesty International Group 15, Concord, MA

Amnesty International Group 30, San Francisco

Amnesty International Group 37 MN

Amnesty International Local Group 40

Amnesty International USA - Group 73 of Ithaca NY

Amnesty International Group 86, Cincinnati OH

Amnesty International Group 133, Boston

Amnesty International 213, Raleigh

Amnesty International Group 317, Indianapolis

Amnesty International USA San Francisco East Bay Chapter

Arctic Inuit Art

Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

The Art & Politics of Justice & Joy

Association of U.S. Catholic Priests

Association of Pittsburgh Priests

Atlantic Center for Capital Representation

Augustinians



Baltimore Nonviolence Center

Baltimore Peace Action

Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren

Benedictine Sisters of Florida

Benedictine University

Bergen County (NJ) Immigration Strategy Group

Bethany United Church of Christ, Seattle

booksinside.org

Booming Investments pty ltd

Boston College Innocence Program

Bruce R. Allen Paralegal


Caldwell Catholic Community

California Innocence Project

California People of Faith Against the Death Penalty

Casa Baltimore Limay

Catholic Conference of Oklahoma

Catholic Mobilizing Network

Catholic Peace Ministry - Des Moines

Catholic Worker Movement

Catholics for Abolition in North Carolina

Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants

The Center for Victims of Torture

Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture local french group

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE)

Cities of Refuge Christian Church

Clergy and Laity for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

COASAP

Colorado-CURE, Inc.

Community Resource Initiative

Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office

Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty

Consistent Life Network

Constantine/White Pigeon United Methodist Parish

CURE - Michigan

CURE - Maryland

CURE - Ohio

CURE- Oregon

CURE- SORT


David D Dodge Foundation

DC Reentry Task Force

Death Penalty Action

Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona

Death Penalty Focus

Death Penalty Focus Los Angeles/St. Camillus

Death Penalty Photography Project

Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty

Democrats For Life of America

Des Moines Faith Committee for Peace

Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids

Dominican Sisters of Adrian, MI

Dominican Sisters of Peace

Dominican Sisters of Houston

Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa

Dominican Sisters of Sparkill

Donkeysaddle Projects


Eagle Yachts

Earl Carl Institute for Legal & Social Policy, Inc.

The Eighth Amendment Project

EJUSA Evangelical Network

Episcopal Peace Fellowship

Equal Justice USA

The Exoneration Project

Exoneration Justice Clinic

Extended Hands Ministries


Faith in the Valley

Faithful America

Feminists Choosing Life of New York, Inc.

Feminists for Nonviolent Choices

Feral Mother Studio LLC

First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Franciscan Action Network

Fraternité Bon Larron

French Coalition Against the Death Penalty


Gainesville Citizens for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center

Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (GCADP)

Get on the Bus for Human Rights

The Giant Bubble Show

Global Health Partners

Good Trouble Makers

Greater Caribbean for Life

Greenhouse Experiment

Green Party of Washington


Hidden Voices

Holy Family Parish Faith in Action

HOPEace

Hope for Prisoners Task Force Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington. indiana

Human Rights Watch


Ideas Home

Ignite Justice Mississippi Chapter

Illinois Innocence Project

IMAGINARIUM

In the Executioner's Shadow Documentary team

Indiana Catholic Conference

Initiative Hope for Life

INKstain Studio

Innocence Project

The Innocence Project at UVA School of Law

Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (Cincinnati)

Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center (Seattle)

InterFaith Council of the Wabash Valley

Interfaith Montgomery

Interfaith Worker Justice - New Mexico

ITCHY PA


Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA)

Journey of Hope …From Violence to Healing

Julius Jones Coalition

Justice and Mercy

Justice and Mercy For All

Justice Consultants, LLC

Justice for Keith LaMar

Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Ministry -St.Mary’s in Pompton Lakes, NJ

Justice Policy Institute


Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty

Kentucky Behavioral Health Center

Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Kentucky Committee to End Executions

Kentucky Innocence Project

Kevin Cooper Defense Committee

Koinonia Farm


L'chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty

Lakeshore Pax Christi

LAREPEAL

Lauren Faith Smith Ministry for Nonviolence

Legal Awareness Watch Pakistan

Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Lincoln Montlhy Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

Long Beach Justice Project

Louisiana Survivors for Reform

Lifespark - Movement Against the Death Penalty

LIVEFREE USA


Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition

Manna House Memphis

Marianist Social Justice Collaborative

Medical Mission Sisters - Justice Office

Methodist Federation for Social Action

Methodist Federation for Social Action, Oregon-Idaho regional community

Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church

Middle Ground Prison Reform

Midwest Innocence Project

Milwaukee Zen Center

Mississippi CURE

Montana Innocence Project

More Than Our Crimes


NAMI Huntington, NY

NAACP - Greater Terre Haute NAACP Branch

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

National Association of Social Workers

National Lawyers Guild, Detroit & Michigan Chapter

National Lawyers Guild - Midwest Region

National Lawyers Guild - St. Louis Chapter

Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

New Hour

NoToExecution Campaign

North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NCCADP)

North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence

North Carolina Council of Churches

Northern California Innocence Project

​​Notre Dame Sisters, Omaha Province

Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty

New Jersey Association on Correction

New Mexico Conference of Churches

The New York Catholic Worker


Ongd AFRICANDO

Ohioans to Stop Executions

The Ohio Council of Churches

Ohio Innocence Project

Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Or Hamidbar, Palm Spring

Or Tzafon, Suttons Bay, MI

Oregon CURE

Oregon Justice Resource Center (Oregon Innocence Project)

Our Lady of Lourdes Church - Social Justice Committee, Decatur


PA Windell Photos

Parallax Perspectives

Pacifica Peace People

Pacifica Social Justice

Pax Christi Cleveland Chapter

Pax Christi Harrisburg

Pax Christi Illinois

Pax Christi Maine

Pax Christi Maryknoll

Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore

Pax Christi Naperville

Pax Christi New York State

Pax Christi Northern CA

Pax Christi Northwest

Pax Christi Rhode Island

Pax Christi San Marino

Pax Christi South Dakota

Pax Christi St. John Neumann

Pax Christi Texas

Pax Christi USA

Pax Christi Western Massachusetts

Peace & Social Justice Committee of Homewood Friends Monthly Meeting (Baltimore)

Prison to Prosperity Advocacy Movement

The Prison Show - KPFT 90.1 FM

Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty

The Promise of Justice Initiative


Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Red Letter Christians

Reedley Peace Center

Rehumanize International

Remerg

Return Strong NV

Rocky Mountain Innocence Center


Salvatorians

San Diegans Against the Death Penalty

Saint Anne's Episcopal Church - Winston-Salem, NC

Saint Camillus Center for Spiritual Care

Saint Gabriel Peace and Justice

St James Catholic Church - Kansas City, KS

St. Patrick Center - Saint Louis, MO

Saint Susanna Pax Christi/Pax Christi MA board

Sing For Change

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur USA

Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

Sisters of Saint Francis and Therese Catholic Worker

Sisters of St Joseph - Brentwood

Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet, LA

Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester

Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill Philadelphia PA

Sisters of the Holy Cross

Society of Helpers

South Carolinians for Alternatives to the Death

South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Southern Methodist University Human Rights program

Supporting Our Loved Ones Group


Temple Beth El, Richmond, VA

Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (TADP)

Tikkun Olam Chavurah - Philadelphia

TischPDX

Tokata-LPSG RheinMain e. V.

Twin Cities Amnesty Group #37

Twin Cities Nonviolent


Ungvarsky Law, PLLC

Unitarian Universalists For Alternatives To The Death Penalty

Unitarian Universalists of Central Delaware

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Montgomery

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh

Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, Social & Environmental Justice Committee

Universal Compassion Buddhist Congregation

United Church of Christ - Heartland Conference

The United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society

Uri L'Tzedek: The Orthodox Social Justice Movement

Ursuline Sisters Leadership

UR Restored Ministries


VATTICA

Vermont Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errant(s)

Veterans For Peace Eisenhower Chapter 157

Vine and Fig Tree Community-Fredonia AL

Voiceless Behind Bars

Vote Common Good


The Waging Peace Project

War Resisters League

Washington Innocence Project

Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

West Seattle Administrative & Paralegal Services

Western Massachusetts JUSTFAITH Community

Western New York Drilling Defense

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice

Witness to Innocence

The Wonder Brothers

Women Against Registry Foundation



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