Sessions’ DOJ Is Seeking More Death Penalties

Attorney General Jeff Sessions authorized federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Billy Arnold for killing two rival gang members in Detroit. In December, the AG cleared prosecutors in Orlando to seek a death sentence against Jarvis Wayne Madison, who is charged with fatally shooting his estranged wife. DOJ also is also considering seeking death sentences against Sayfullo Saipov, accused of killing eight people in November by driving a truck onto a Manhattan bike lane, and against two defendants in the 2016 slaying of two teenage girls by MS-13 gang members on Long Island.

The Justice Department will seek the federal death penalty in at least two murder cases, in what officials say is the first sign of a heightened effort under Attorney General Jeff Sessions to use capital punishment to crack down on violent crime, reports the Wall Street Journal. Sessions authorized federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Billy Arnold, who is charged with killing two rival gang members in Detroit. The decision followed the first death-penalty authorization under Sessions, made public Dec. 19, when he cleared prosecutors in Orlando to seek a death sentence against Jarvis Wayne Madison, who is charged with fatally shooting his estranged wife in 2016. DOJ also is also considering seeking death sentences against Sayfullo Saipov, accused of killing eight people in November by driving a truck onto a Manhattan bike lane, and against two defendants in the 2016 slaying of two teenage girls by MS-13 gang members on Long Island, outside of New York City.

Sessions views the death penalty as a “valuable tool in the tool belt,” according to a senior Justice Department official. The official said the death penalty isn’t only a deterrent, but also a “punishment for the most heinous crimes prohibited under federal law.” The Justice Department under President Trump expects to authorize more death penalty cases than the Obama administration did. In 2017, state and federal juries handed down 39 death sentences, the second lowest since 1972, says the Death Penalty Information Center. Eight states carried out 23 executions last year, the second lowest total since the early 1990s. The last federal execution was in 2003. Since 1963, three federal defendants have been executed. The federal government has obtained 25 death sentences since 2007, down from 45 death sentences between 1996 and 2006.

from https://thecrimereport.org