News Flash Home
The original item was published from 12/6/2020 9:00:56 PM to 1/1/2021 12:00:15 AM.

News Flash

* City News Alerts *

Posted on: December 7, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Over 95 Criminal Justice Leaders Call for an Immediate End to the Federal Death Penalty

Charlottesville

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2020

Current and Former Prosecutors, Law Enforcement Leaders, and Former DOJ Officials Call for Halt of Scheduled Federal Executions


CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - As Charlottesville and the nation grapples with balancing community safety and the fair treatment of offenders, Commonwealth’s Attorney Joseph Platania and Chief RaShall Brackney, Ph.D. stand firmly with a bipartisan group of over 95 criminal justice leaders — including 60 current elected prosecutors, nine former U.S. Attorneys and 14 current and former Police Chiefs and Sheriffs — calling for an immediate halt to federal executions.

Last week, this group of officials issued a joint statement calling for an immediate halt to federal executions and asking the President to commute the sentences of the five people now scheduled to be executed by the federal government over the next two months. The signatories warn that a rush to carry out executions in the midst of a pandemic, and in the final days of the current administration, would compromise trust in the American legal system and perpetuate a deeply flawed and unjust process.

“The Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 continues the practices of racial terror established long before its formal enactment. The rush to execute not only seeks to permanently erase black and brown communities, it highlights the inequities of application and lack of justice in the Criminal-Legal System during a national pandemic,” stated Dr. Brackney. 

Commonwealth’s Attorney Platania concurred with  Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution, the organizer of the statement and a former federal prosecutor who stated that, “the death penalty is a cruel, ineffective, unjust punishment and does nothing to improve public safety. Rushing to execute people in the midst of a presidential transition and at a time when COVID-19 is surging would seriously undermine the public’s already-damaged trust in the justice system, and thus erode public safety.”

The United States was one of only 20 countries, and the only Western democracy, to use the death penalty last year and is far more likely to impose the punishment in cases involving Black defendants or white victims. Since 1973, at least 172 people on death row have been exonerated, while the National Academy of Sciences estimates that over 4 percent of death row prisoners are innocent. The COVID-19 pandemic has only magnified concerns with application of the death penalty, making it impossible for many attorneys to effectively represent their clients, investigate last-minute leads, introduce new witness testimony, or even see their clients in person. 

The statement calls on the President to commute all outstanding federal death sentences to life imprisonment. This is “an extreme punishment, commensurate with the most egregious of crimes,” the law enforcement and criminal justice leaders argue, but avoids the injustice and flawed process inherent in the application of the death penalty. 

The signatories also point to the inextricable connection between trust in the justice system and public safety: “When people believe the state is executing a person, or applying the death penalty, unjustly – as do many in our nation who oppose the death penalty in increasing numbers – their trust in our system of government and law enforcement is undermined. Our jobs get harder, as do the jobs of others who seek to keep our communities safe.”

“As a longtime law enforcement leader, former Police Chief and former president of the National Police Foundation, I have been committed for decades to promoting public safety. Yet many members of our community recognize that the death penalty is arbitrary, cruel, and often racially-biased." said Jim Bueerman, former Chief of Police of Redlands, California and former President of the National Police Foundation, and another signatory to the joint statement. “The use of capital punishment undermines efforts to protect communities by further eroding the fragile bonds of trust between law enforcement and the people we serve.”

Read the full statement and see the list of signatories here.

Media Contacts
Joseph Platania
Commonwealth’s Attorney
City of Charlottesville
434-970-3176
platania@charlottesville.gov

RaShall Brackney, Ph.D.
Chief of Police
City of Charlottesville
434-970-3288
chief@charlottesville.gov

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in * City News Alerts *

Rivanna Waste logo

Rivanna Pump Station Bypass Pumping System Update

Posted on: February 16, 2024 | Last Modified on: December 12, 2023
Charlottesville Parks and Recreation

Tonsler Park Parking Lot to be Repaved

Posted on: February 15, 2024
National Burn Awareness Week 2024 CFD

CFD Recognizes Burn Awareness Week

Posted on: February 9, 2024
News Release CPD

CPD Recovers Drugs and Weapons in Search Warrant

Posted on: February 2, 2024 | Last Modified on: December 12, 2023
Rivanna Waste logo

Rivanna Pump Station Bypass Pumping System Update

Posted on: February 1, 2024 | Last Modified on: December 12, 2023
Leaf Collection Announcement 23-24

Leaf Collection to Resume

Posted on: January 25, 2024
Rivanna Waste logo

RWSA Water Main Break

Posted on: January 25, 2024 | Last Modified on: December 12, 2023
Rivanna Waste logo

Wastewater Treatment at the Moores Creek Advanced Water Resource Recovery Facility

Posted on: January 25, 2024 | Last Modified on: December 12, 2023
Phone Icon

City of Charlottesville to Perform System Maintenance on All Phone Services

Posted on: January 24, 2024 | Last Modified on: December 12, 2023
City Council Postponed

City Council Meeting Postponed

Posted on: January 16, 2024
News Release CPD

CPD Makes Arrest in Rivanna Trail Case

Posted on: January 12, 2024
News Release CPD

CPD Seeks Assistance Locating Suspect

Posted on: January 3, 2024
Public Works

Recycle Your Holidays Trees!

Posted on: December 20, 2023
Deputy Chief Joe Phillips

Joe Phillips Promoted to Deputy Fire Chief

Posted on: December 13, 2023
Leaf Collection Announcement 23-24

Leaf Collection has Begun

Posted on: November 1, 2023
Rivanna Waste logo

DRINKING WATER UPDATE

Posted on: September 12, 2023
Charlottesville Parks and Recreation

Tree Planting Planned for November

Posted on: September 1, 2023
Rivanna Waste logo

FREE LOCAL MULCH AT THE IVY MUC

Posted on: August 29, 2023
Logo for Charlottesville Acting on Climate Together

2023 Climate Action Work Plan Posted

Posted on: July 26, 2023
tax time

Taxes Due Monday, June 5, 2023

Posted on: May 30, 2023