A week after Brandon Bernard's execution and multiple attempts to persuade Trump to stop others, dozens of members of Congress are asking Biden to end the federal death penalty

Susan Walsh/APPresident-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theatre in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020.
  • Dozens of members of Congress have called on President-elect Joe Biden to abolish the death penalty in all jurisdictions on his first day in office, CNN reported.
  • The call comes after the execution of Brandon Bernard during a presidential lame-duck period.
  • Activists had previously called on President Donald Trump to halt Bernard’s execution, as well as other scheduled during the presidential transition period.
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Forty members of Congress and three recently elected members are urging President-elect Joe Biden to abolish the death penalty in all jurisdictions on his first day in office, CNN reported.

The call was voiced in a letter written by Rep. Ayanna Pressley and sent to Biden’s transition team. In the letter, Pressley slams President Donald Trump’s administration for executing “more people in six months than the total number executed over the previous six decades.”

“With a stroke of your pen, you can stop all federal executions, prohibit United States Attorneys from seeking the death penalty, dismantle death row at FCC Terre Haute, and call for the resentencing of people who are currently sentenced to death,” Pressley wrote in the letter obtained by CNN. “Each of these elements are critical to help prevent greater harm and further loss of life.”

The call comes after the execution of Brandon Bernard and after multiple pleas to President Donald Trump to stop executions that were scheduled during the presidential transition period.

Last week, Bernard became the ninth inmate to be executed this year by the Bureau of Prisons after a 17-year hiatus. So far, ten people have been executed this year. Bernard’s execution was the first of five scheduled before January 20, when Biden is sworn in, the BBC reported.

Bernard’s lawyers, as well as activists, pleaded for his sentence to be commuted to life in prison. His death was also the first time an execution has been carried out during a presidential lame-duck period in 130 years.

“The current administration has weaponised capital punishment with callous disregard for human life,” Pressley wrote.

Additionally, the Death Row Information Centre has reported that there 52 people on federal death row and 18 pending state executions.

Biden has pledged to abolish the federal death penalty and to work to incentivise states to abolish theirs.

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