Tuesday, July 14, 2020

On the Murder of Daniel Lee

Daniel Lewis Lee was killed early this morning at the federal prison in Terra Haute, Indiana, by agents of the federal government. It was the first federal execution in 17 years.  

The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote declaring that Lee had almost no chance of showing that the method of execution would violate the Eighth Amendment, cheered it on.  It was, the court majority  said, its "responsibility" to ensure that Lee got killed.  And so he did.
The following is a statement from Ruth Friedman, attorney for Daniel Lee who was executed this morning:
It is important for everyone to understand exactly what happened last night to our client, Daniel Lewis Lee. At 2 AM on July 14, while the country was sleeping, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision vacating the injunction that had been in place against the first federal execution in 17 years.  Within minutes, the Department of Justice moved to re-set Danny Lee's execution--for 4 AM, summoning media and witnesses back to the prison in the very middle of the night.  When it was brought to the government's attention that a court stay still remained in place, the DOJ first maintained that that stay presented no legal impediment to executing Danny Lee, but then filed an "emergency" motion to lift the stay.  
Over the four hours it took for this reckless and relentless government to pursue these ends, Daniel Lewis Lee remained strapped to a gurney:  a mere 31 minutes after a court of appeals lifted the last impediment to his execution at the federal government's urging, while multiple motions remained pending, and without notice to counsel, he was executed. 
It is shameful that the government saw fit to carry out this execution during a pandemic.  It is shameful that the government saw fit to carry out this execution when counsel for Danny Lee could not be present with him, and when the judges in his case and even the family of his victims urged against it.  And it is beyond shameful that the government, in the end, carried out this execution in haste, in the middle of the night, while the country was sleeping.  We hope that upon awakening, the country will be as outraged as we are.
 -- Ruth Friedman, attorney for Daniel Lee and Director, Federal Capital Habeas Project--July 14, 2020

1 comment:

  1. Note that this entire procedure took place between 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM. I can't format a coherent thought before 9:00 AM, yet various officials are making life and death decisions while the rest of the U.S. is in bed and asleep.

    Danny Lee's last words were that he was innocent, and that the State was executing an innocent man. At four in the morning, no less.

    This entire procedure is sickening, and has nothing to do with real justice. It has everything to do with the State getting what a few members of State government want - although I can't imagine why, as none of the people involved in making this decision actually know Danny Lee, or have ever met him.