Denying Indigenous Sovereignty: The Execution of Lezmond Mitchell

(Source) On August 26th, 2020, the United States government executed Lezmond Mitchell, the only Native American on federal death row, continuing the Trump administration’s aggressive reinstatement of federal executions after a seventeen-year delay. Mr. Mitchell was pronounced dead at 6:29 PM. Mr. Mitchell’s execution was the 1523rd execution in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 and the fourth federal execution in 2020. Two days later, the federal government executed Keith Nelson, who was pronounced dead on August 28th at 4:32 PM. With the federal death toll at five people, the federal government has carried out more executions in the past two months than in the preceding fifty-seven years. They plan to carry out two more by the end of September.  There are many problems with the way the federal government has been going about killing the people on its death row, and Mr. Mitchell’s case is no exception: as with the other people whom the federal government has executed, the global pandemic is still raging, and several of the victims’ loved ones opposed Mr. Mitchell’s death sentence. Further, there were real concerns about Mr. Mitchell’s culpability compared to that of his co-defendant, who did not [read more]