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Case Name In the Matter of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Execution Protocol Cases CJ-DC-0006
Docket / Court 1:19-mc-00145-TSC ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
In July 2019, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), in conjunction with the Bureau of Prisons, announced plans to resume federal capital punishment after a nearly twenty-year hiatus. The Federal Death Penalty Act was the controlling authority on the federal government’s role in capital ... read more >
In July 2019, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), in conjunction with the Bureau of Prisons, announced plans to resume federal capital punishment after a nearly twenty-year hiatus. The Federal Death Penalty Act was the controlling authority on the federal government’s role in capital punishment. The act passed in 1993, one year after then attorney-general William Barr had tried to standardize federal death penalty procedure. The Federal Death Penalty Act established that the US Marshall supervised the implementation of the death penalty in the manner proscribed by state law, but did not impose a separate federal execution procedure.

The underlying litigation, which would not be completed by the time these prisoners are scheduled to be executed, is an offshoot of Roane v. Gonzalez, a case in the mid-2000s in which the court granted a stay on the execution of seven death row prisoners that the federal government had sought to execute. This case consolidated the Roane appeal with those of four other death row prisoners, Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Ira Purkey, Alfred Bourgeois, Dustin Lee Honken. Plaintiffs sought a stay on their execution until the prisoners completed litigation on the constitutionality of DOJ’s new execution protocol. Plaintiffs were represented by, among others, private counsel from King & Spalding, Hogan Lovells, Wilmer Hale, and Skadden Arps, public counsel from the Federal Community Defender Office, as well as local public defenders’ offices from across the country.

The district court judge (Judge Tanya S. Chutkan) granted this stay on November 20, 2019, until the five prisoners completed litigation on the constitutionality of DOJ’s new execution protocol. She based her assessment on the substantial likelihood that plaintiff’s underlying litigation would succeed, the irreparable harm that plaintiffs’ execution prior to the culmination of their litigation would visit on them, and the public interest not being served by executing individuals before they had a chance to avail themselves of the justice system. 2019 WL 6691814.

DOJ appealed the opinion and order granting a stay on the executions of five death row prisoners and the case went before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments were held on January 29, 2020 and the case is pending ruling in Circuit Court.

Dan Toubman - 02/16/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Death Penalty
Lethal Injection - General
General
Disciplinary procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Defendant(s) William P. Barr
Plaintiff Description A number of death row prisoners.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2019 - n/a
Filed 2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
1:19-mc-00145-TSC (D.D.C.)
CJ-DC-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Unopposed Motion to Intervene by Dustin Lee Honken and Incorporated Memorandum of Law in Support [ECF# 26]
CJ-DC-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint of Plaintiff-Intervenor Dustin Lee Honken [ECF# 38]
CJ-DC-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/08/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion (2019 WL 6691814) (D.D.C.)
CJ-DC-0006-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/20/2019
Source: Westlaw
Order [ECF# 51] (D.D.C.)
CJ-DC-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/20/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Chutkan, Tanya Sue (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
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Plaintiff's Lawyers Albertson, Steven M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Almond, Brandon David (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Aminoff, Jonathan Charles (California) show/hide docs
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Ayers, Robert A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Bacchi, Celeste (California) show/hide docs
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Beck, John D. (New York) show/hide docs
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Bortnick, Abigail (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Braden, Scott Wilson (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Chabot, Ryan (New York) show/hide docs
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Codd, Kathryn B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Enzinna, Paul F. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Hagerty, Elizabeth (Colorado) show/hide docs
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Harbaugh, Craig Anthony (California) show/hide docs
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Hernandez, Eric (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Herrington, Matthew John (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Hoffmann , William E. Jr. (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Hulkower, Mark Joseph (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Jeffress, Jonathan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Kane, Timothy (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
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King, Gerald Wesley Jr. (Georgia) show/hide docs
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Kursman, Alexander Louis (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
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Lawler, William E. III (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Lentz, Amy J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Miller, Evan D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Moshos, Andrew (Delaware) show/hide docs
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Nolan, Shawn (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
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O'Donnell, Margaret (Kentucky) show/hide docs
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Omar, Yousri H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Salinas, Andres C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Salzman, Donald Paul (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Schmidt, Amelia J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Schoenfeld, Alan E. (New York) show/hide docs
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Smith, Arin Hillary (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Sourgens, Jeanne Vosberg (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Toll, Joshua C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Van Tol, Pieter (New York) show/hide docs
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Victorson, David S. (California) show/hide docs
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Walker, Charles Frederick (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Waters, Robert E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Ying, Jennifer (Delaware) show/hide docs
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Zdebski, Charles Anthony (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Burch, Alan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Clark, Denise M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Davis, Ethan P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Donnella, Amy Gershenfeld (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
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Erickson , Robert J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Kossak, Jonathan D (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Lin, Jean (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Luby, Joseph W. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Nolas, Billy H (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
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Perkins, Paul (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Smith, Peter S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers McGlasson, Robert L. (Texas) show/hide docs
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O'Brien, Sean D. (Kansas) show/hide docs
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Proctor, Gary Edward (Maryland) show/hide docs
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