Death Penalty Action Year-End Updates +COVID19 Takes Former Executioner Turned Abolitionist

As we close out the year with a focus on making sure we have the resources for big wins in 2021, I wanted to fill you in on some important developments and opportunities for YOU to take action.



  • We’ve rearranged the Federal Death Penalty Action Page to highlight the different petitions according to several categories: Executive Branch, Congress, and two NEW faith leader sign-on letters. Sign them all and share them with others — we’ll be delivering them next week!
  • Also, Texas, Tennessee and Alabama have executions set in the next two months. Please sign these case-specific petitions.


At least ten people messaged me over the weekend, excited at the news that Lisa Montgomery got a stay of execution. Lisa is the only woman on federal death row. She is severely mentally ill. If killed, she will be the first woman executed by the federal government in 70 years.

It’s true that she has a new stay, but it is a technicality. The judge ruled that the government was premature in setting a new execution date, and should not have done so until after the stay currently in place expires on December 31st.

What we know is that the federal government will stop at nothing to carry out the orders of Donald Trump, and of course, they have already appealed. Know this: On July 13th, the execution warrant expired at midnight for Daniel Lee. We all thought he’d have at least a few more weeks. Nope. The government gave him a new warrant setting his new date for immediately. He was dead before 8:30am. His lawyers learned about it from a tweet.


Last week the New York Times began featuring short videos about 5 of the 330,000+ Americans whose deaths are attributed to COVID-19. One of them is Jerry Givens, a founding Advisory Board Member of Death Penalty Action, a colleague, and a friend. It’s 6 minutes of beautifully created storytelling. Please click here to watch.

Jerry’s family knew how important this work was to him, and they wanted his voice to carry on. You can help. Please share the video. Click here to learn more about Jerry Givens, read the various obituaries and news items from when he died, and if you like, make a tribute gift in Jerry’s memory. We’ll pass any message you leave on to Jerry’s family.


Last week, we hosted a interfaith prayer vigil/press conference (click to watch) decrying the federal regulations changes that took effect ON CHRISTMAS EVE. The changes:

  • * Allow the FIRING SQUAD and other alternative methods of execution;
  • * Allow the Bureau of Prisons to designate any other prison facility for the purpose of executions;
  • * Speed up the execution warrant notice period from four months to 20 days! Rev. Leah Schade of the Clergy Emergency League participated and wrote about it, here.

We’ve Been Busy:


Death Penalty Action and partners are planning another virtual conference on the death penalty, including live-streamed multi-location execution vigils for the week of January 10–16, 2021. Details coming soon!

There is so much more that can be done.

Plainly put, executions are wrong and we need to do everything we can to stop them. Which is why I have to ask, can you chip in $18, $36, $72, or any amount you can so that we have the resources to prevent the next federal execution?

$18 » $36 » $72 » Other »

Without your help we won’t have the resources we need to pressure AG Rosen to do the right thing and stop federal executions. Chip in any amount here.

Yours in the Struggle,

— Abe

Abraham J. Bonowitz, Director

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Death Penalty Action provides high visibility resources, leadership and support in order to stop executions.