Current Status of the Federal Death Penalty:
On December 2, 2019, the U.S. Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to allow the resumption of federal executions after a 16-year hiatus. The request came hours after an appeals court upheld an injunction which temporarily halted the federal executions scheduled for December 2019 and January 2020.
The situation concerning the planned restart of federal executions is incredibly volatile and requires your continued vigilance. You can raise your voice in opposition to the resumption of federal executions and call on our government leaders to uphold a consistent ethic of life.
Case-Specific Information for Wesley Purkey:
The federal government issued a death warrant to execute Wesley Purkey by lethal injection Wednesday, December 13, 2019 for the 1998 rape and murder of Jennifer Long, 16.
Mr. Purkey was raised by violent, alcoholic family members who brutalized him physically, emotionally, and sexually from the youngest age. He also suffered abuse at the hands of a clergy member. However, the jury never learned most of these facts. Unable to afford an attorney, he was given counsel who has more clients sentenced to death in federal court than any other defense lawyer in America. A litany of legal violations took place in Mr. Purkey’s case.
Mr. Purkey is now age 67 and suffers from a multitude of mental and physical disabilities, including severe mental illness, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
The Catholic Church teaches that the death penalty is unacceptable in all cases because it is "an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person." (Catholic Catechism 2267)