Published on: Monday, June 29, 2020

In Bourgeois v. Barr, 19-1348, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge to the Trump administration's efforts to resume federal executions, which had been fast tracked. The denial of certiorari paved the way for the executions of Daniel Lee, Wesley Purkey, and Dustin Honken on July 13, 15, and 17 respectively, and the execution of Keith Nelson to follow on August 28. These executions were set while litigation has been pending and despite serious concerns in these prisoners' cases, including opposition to the death sentence from victims' family members, mental competency, and compelling mitigation evidence that their juries never heard. Ruth Friedman, a lawyer for Mr. Lee, said the government had used "junk science and false evidence" to obtain his conviction and secure a death sentence. "In what may be an unprecedented occurrence in a capital case," she said in a statement, "the trial judge, the lead prosecutor and the victims' family all oppose executing Danny Lee and believe a life sentence is appropriate." Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor indicated they would have taken up the appeal from the four death-row inmates.