The Department of Justice has announced a new bill intended to shorten the time allowed for death penalty proceedings for mass shooters and police killers, according to Attorney General William Barr.
“There will be a strict timetable for judicial proceedings that will allow the imposition of the death sentence without undue delay,” Barr said to law enforcement officials in New Orleans. “Punishment must be swift.”
The attorney general also indicated that he expects the proposed legislation to be ready quickly and looks for it after the Labor Day holiday when lawmakers return from recess.
President Donald Trump first mentioned the new legislation to the Department of Justice last Monday when he talked about the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, and Ohio. The president directed the Justice Department to propose the legislation.
“Today, I’m also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty and that this capital punishment is delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay,” said the president.
Barr indicated that he is also working with the FBI to “develop strategies and measures to address” mass shootings and domestic terror attacks, including tools that assist in “detecting potential mass shooters before they strike.”
Those who oppose the death penalty, though, have said that there is very little evidence to suggest that quicker executions of the guilty would deter these shooters, as their plans often include taking their own lives or being killed by police at the crime scene. Texas, for example, has the highest number of prisoners who have been put to death by execution, which did not deter the El Paso mass shooter at all.
Trump made it clear long ago that the was an advocate for expanding the use of the death penalty in the case of police killers and drug traffickers, even though many states have tried to ban executions. Fighting violent crime and helping to protect police has been an important issue of the Trump Administration, which blames former President Barack Obama for the increase in the rate of violent crime in recent years.
“In the weeks ahead, we will be doubling down on our attack on violent crime. We will be expanding our efforts against gun violence and violent gangs,” Barr said.
Barr also noted a growing disrespect for police in the country, and blamed new district attorneys who are declining to prosecute minor crimes. He said he was “nauseated by the spectacle of prancing punks pelting New York police officers with water and plastic buckets” — an incident captured on camera last month, which has led to multiple arrests. He said that “increasing toleration of the notion that it is somehow OK to resist the police” must be met with zero tolerance and prosecution.
The attorney general also described increased efforts to fight the war on synthetic opioids, which is responsible for a serious overdose crisis in the U.S., one he blamed on the Obama administration as well as Mexican cartels.
“To be frank, the Obama Administration showed little interest in prosecuting the fight against dangerous drugs,” said Barr. He also said that “the head of the snake is outside the United States,” in the form of Mexican cartels, which must be destroyed.