Published on: Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Today, Attorney General William P. Barr today directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the execution of Lezmond Mitchell, the only Native American on federal death row (article available here). The execution is scheduled to occur on August 26, 2020, at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. Tribal leaders and the victim's family oppose the death penalty.

Native American tribes for decades have been able to tell federal prosecutors if they want a death sentence considered for certain crimes on their land. However, Mitchell was convicted of carjacking resulting in death — a crime that carries a possible death sentence no matter where it happens, meaning the tribe had no avenue to object. Mitchell, who was 20 years old at the time, had no criminal record. If his execution proceeds, Mitchell will be the fourth federal execution this year and the first Native American to be executed in modern U.S. history.

Three other federal inmates were put to death earlier this month, all in the same week, after a 17-year moratorium on federal executions — Dustin Honken, Wesley Purkey and Daniel Lewis Lee.