Lawmakers and death penalty opposition react to federal executions hold

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TERRE HAUTE (WTWO/WAWV) – In July of this year, U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced that federal executions would resume after a 16 year absence.

Indiana United States Senator Mike Braun says he does have some issues with the death penalty, but believes it is a necessary punishment.

“Even though I have some concerns with it from a moral or religious point of view. When it comes to a legal tool, I think it has to be out there,” Braun said.

Just weeks before the first execution of Daniel Lewis Lee was set to take place on December 9th, federal executions have been halted again.

It comes after U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan temporarily stopped the executions, citing that the inmates scheduled to be executed are likely to win their legal challenge.

Senator Braun says when it comes to the death penalty he believes all evidence and information should be looked over carefully.

“To me there wouldn’t be a thing more sad than if somebody was executed and it’s based upon evidence that should turn the case around,” Braun said.

Those who have opposed the death penalty and the scheduled executions say they are happy about Judge Chutkan’s ruling, but they aren’t completely satisfied just yet.

“I’m glad, of course I’m glad but if it goes forward in six months or something, we’ll be right back where we started, with the same heartache,” Sister Rita Clare Gerardot, Sisters of Providence.

All five of the men of the scheduled to be executed were convicted of crimes against children.

Previous to Wednesday’s ruling by Judge Chutkan, Lezmond Mitchell asked for a stay of execution, citing potential racial bias from the jury.

The U.S. Government is able to appeal the ruling.

At this time it is unknown if that will happen.

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