Attorney General William P. Barr today directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to schedule the executions of four federal death-row inmates who were convicted of murdering children in violation of federal law and who, in two cases, raped the children they murdered.
In July 2019, Attorney General Barr directed the BOP to revise the Federal Execution Protocol to provide for the use of a single-drug, pentobarbital — similar to protocols used in hundreds of state executions and repeatedly upheld by federal courts, including the Supreme Court, as consistent with the Eighth Amendment. A district court’s preliminary injunction prevented BOP from carrying out executions under the revised protocol, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated that injunction — clearing the way for the federal government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two-decade hiatus.
“The American people, acting through Congress and Presidents of both political parties, have long instructed that defendants convicted of the most heinous crimes should be subject to a sentence of death,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “The four murderers whose executions are scheduled today have received full and fair proceedings under our Constitution and laws. We owe it to the victims of these horrific crimes, and to the families left behind, to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”
In accordance with 28 C.F.R. Part 26, the BOP has scheduled executions for the following death-sentenced inmates:
Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group, murdered a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl. After robbing and shooting the victims with a stun gun, Lee covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks, and threw the family of three into the Illinois bayou. On May 4, 1999, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found Lee guilty of numerous offenses, including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and he was sentenced to death. Lee’s execution is scheduled to occur on July 13, 2020.
Wesley Ira Purkey violently raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl, and then dismembered, burned, and dumped the young girl’s body in a septic pond. He also was convicted in state court for using a claw hammer to bludgeon to death an 80-year-old woman who suffered from polio and walked with a cane. On November 5, 2003, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri found Purkey guilty of kidnapping a child resulting in the child’s death, and he was sentenced to death. Purkey’s execution is scheduled to occur on July 15, 2020.
Dustin Lee Honken shot and killed five people — two men who planned to testify against him, and a single, working mother and her ten-year-old and six-year-old daughters. On October 14, 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa found Honken guilty of numerous offenses, including five counts of murder during the course of a continuing criminal enterprise, and he was sentenced to death. Honken’s execution is scheduled to occur on July 17, 2020.
Keith Dwayne Nelson kidnapped a 10-year-old girl rollerblading in front of her home, and in a forest behind a church, raped her and strangled her to death with a wire. On October 25, 2001, Nelson pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to the kidnapping and unlawful interstate transportation of a child for the purpose of sexual abuse which resulted in death, and he was sentenced to death. Nelson’s execution is scheduled to occur on August 28, 2020.
Each of these inmates has exhausted appellate and post-conviction remedies, and no legal impediments prevent their executions, which will take place at U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana. Additional executions will be scheduled at a later date.
All this has led to a joint statement from the British Fashion Council and Council of Fashion Designers of America regarding the need for a fashion industry reset. Other publications, such as Global Fashion Agenda’s CEO Agenda COVID-19 Edition discussed a humanitarian and existential crisis [for the industry].
What is fascinating in all these words, articles and dramas is, given that COVID-19 is a novel zoonotic disease none have discussed the fashion industry’s use of exotic and endangered animals. Company supply chains use both captive breeding facilities and wild-harvested ‘product’.
While ‘sustainability’ is the word on the fashion industries lips, repeatedly one of the most fragile ‘components’ of the luxury fashion business is left out of the sustainability conversation – endangered wildlife. COVID-19 is the result of business, including luxury retail and fashion, being blinkered to this most fragile component in its supply chain. Just what needs to happen for (luxury) fashion to break out of this tunnel vision? Sadly, the use of exotic and endangered species by the fashion industry falls into no man’s land between vegan fashion and pro-wildlife trade fashion; their main area of overlap being animal welfare.
The result is that endangered species, those listed for trade restrictions under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) have been ignored for decades. In a recent email Eva Kruse, CEO of GFA, she said “The legal trade in endangered species is a critical issue and not one we have engaged with in depth before here at Global Fashion Agenda. With regards to biodiversity as a topic, we find that our community of brands and retailers generally hold a low level of knowledge in this area.” What makes this astonishing is that a 2016 European Parliament said “The wildlife trade is one of the most lucrative trades in the world. The legal trade into the EU alone is worth €100 billion annually.”
On Monday evening, I sat through a session of The Act #ForNature Global Online Forum hosted by the UN Environment Assembly. The session I chose to watch was Adapt to Thrive: transformational change for nature and business. During this session Business For Nature CEO, Eva Zabey, used the example of Kering Chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault chairing The Fashion Pact as an example of the fashion industry doing something practical about the need to align business with a ‘nature-positive’ approach. As this example was given, HowToSpendItEthically.Org would like to clarify The Fashion Pact’s commitment to the CITES listed endangered species used in the fashion industry supply chain.
Firstly, what is the Fashion Pact? French President, Emmanuel Macron proposed a mission to Kering Chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault to bring together ‘a global coalition of companies in the fashion and textile industry (ready-to-wear, sport, lifestyle and luxury) including their suppliers and distributors, all committed to a common core of key environmental goals in three areas: stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans.’
From the site: The “Pact” contains best efforts that are concrete (i.e. visionary but achievable) and that intend to directly address each of the priority areas.
It goes on to say: The “Pact” will not reinvent the wheel but create an overarching framework for action in relation to the One Planet Lab work streams. This includes direct links to the significant work already taking place in existing initiatives within the fashion sector in the manufacturing part of supply chains. The new targets will build on the existing initiatives such as Apparel Impact Institute, C&A Foundation, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Fair Fashion Center, Fashion For Good, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Textile Exchange, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN International Labour Organization/Better Work, ZDHC. The aim is to ensure that new actions will fill the “gaps” across fashion supply chains.
Did you notice what is missing? CITES, whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. How can this not be included when one of the 3 goals of the pact is restoring biodiversity and direct exploitation for trade has been confirmed as the second biggest contributor to the extinction crisis, playing a greater role than climate change?
The industry has a blind spot in relation to its use of wildlife, be it by accident or deliberate. This has been apparent from going through publications, announcements, talks, conference proceedings etc. If wildlife ever features – and it almost never does – it is only in the context of considering animal welfare issues.
The Department of Justice announced that the Office of Justice Programs’ Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has awarded nearly $2 million for law enforcement training and technical assistance to improve the identification of elder fraud victims and connect victims to available resources. The department makes this announcement as communities around the world commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
“America’s seniors lose billions of dollars every year to fraud and financial scams, in many cases watching helplessly as their entire life savings disappear before their eyes,” said Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “We are fully committed to helping our law enforcement partners better recognize and combat these reprehensible crimes, bring the perpetrators to justice and begin to repair the damage and restore victims.”
The National White Collar Crime Center will receive $1,940,738 to work with the International Association of Chiefs of Police to identify current training, tools and practices being used to address elder fraud. The project will specifically study current resources available and responses to elder fraud in a rural and an urban jurisdiction in two of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force districts and will develop and deliver trainings for law enforcement to improve the response to elder fraud tailored to the particular needs of different types of jurisdictions. The trainings will be tested, evaluated, and revised as needed and then made available to rural and urban law enforcement agencies nationwide. The Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force brings together the resources and expertise of the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for six federal districts, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and other law enforcement personnel.
To further combat elder fraud and prevent harm to vulnerable victims, on March 3, 2020, the Justice Department launched the National Elder Fraud Hotline, managed by the OVC, providing services to all adults ages 60 and older who may be victims of financial fraud. Case managers on the hotline assess the needs of the callers and provide information to help them report fraud or may connect them directly with the appropriate agency. Since its inception, the National Elder Abuse Hotline has received more than 1,724 calls.
“Financial fraud is the most common form of abuse suffered by seniors in our country, affecting about one in 10 older Americans,” said OVC Director Jessica Hart. “I am confident that our investment in this effort, and our collaboration with these organizations, will lead to better identification of the victims of these deplorable crimes and greater justice for those victims.”
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting the abuse and neglect of older persons in communities around the world.
The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.
In the United States, nearly 10% of Americans age 65+ experience elder abuse each year. During World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, DOJ remains committed to protecting our nation’s seniors through our Elder Justice Initiative. https://t.co/6Z6SIBDtja#WEAADpic.twitter.com/q6zvYL1LZt
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard