US Court Overturns Decision to Halt First Federal Execution in 17 Years

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Convicted criminal Daniel Lewis Lee will be put to death by lethal injection at the US Justice Department’s execution chamber in the city of Terre Haute, Vigo County, the state of Indiana.

The Department can carry on the first federal execution in 17 years on Monday as scheduled after the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overturned the injunction of a US federal judge in the state of Indiana. 

The court decided that the claim from the victims’ family “lacks any arguable legal basis and is therefore frivolous”. No federal statute or regulation gave the victims the right to attend the execution, the court ruled.

On 11 July, Chief District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson halted Lee’s execution granting the motion of the victims’ relatives.

The Judge ruled in their favour after they launched a legal suit against the Department of Justice to delay the execution being carried until the novel coronavirus pandemic was over.

US inmate Daniel Lee was sentenced to death in 1999 for the 1996 killings of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife, Nancy, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell, in the state of Arkansas. His execution would be the first execution carried out by the federal government, as opposed to the state of Indiana, since 2003.

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