1. Statement
  2. Criminal Justice

Our Federal Government Brings Back Capital Punishment

By Timothy McHugh, July 26, 2019


On July 25, Attorney General William Barr announced that the federal government will start carrying out death sentences for the first time in nearly two decades by ordering the executions of five inmates. FCNL opposes this action and believes the death penalty should be abolished in all jurisdictions.

Contact: Tim McHugh, Friends Committee on National Legislation, media@fcnl.org; 202-903-2515

“The death penalty is now and has always been immoral and barbaric. It is retribution for, not deterrence to, crime. Aligning our country with China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, countries that lead the world in executions, is a moral failing” explained Diane Randall, FCNL’s executive secretary. “Restarting federal executions will not make our country safer nor will it impact crime rates. It will only reinforce the extremism of the death penalty as vile public spectacle.”

State-sanctioned killing violates the deeply-held beliefs of people from different religious traditions. The Friends Committee on National Legislation seeks abolition of the death penalty because we believe that state-sanctioned killing denies the sacredness of human life and violates our belief in the human capacity for change.

Executing criminals does not effectively address the roots of violence in our society. It has not been shown to effectively deter the sorts of crimes for which it is applied. It does not restore lives destroyed by acts of violence. While we acknowledge the tragic violence and deep loss of murder and we empathize with the agony of victims and their families, we believe that executing people, even those whose guilt is beyond a shadow of doubt, is wrong.

The federal government has not executed anyone since 2003, when it faced legal challenges on how it planned to carry out executions. Attorney General Barr ordered a new method for executing prisoners, replacing the lethal drug cocktail with injections of a single drug.

Timothy McHugh

  • Director of Media Relations

Tim leads organizational efforts to communicate about issues, victories, priorities, and updates through all available news channels – specifically the major media outlets. He is responsible for providing FCNL staff with opportunities to convey our message – in print and through the airways – to the public and throughout the country. He keeps FCNL issues and staff on the collective radars of reporters and journalists nationwide. Lastly, he runs FCNL several media-focused social media channels.