WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Division has scheduled three extra federal executions throughout the lame-duck interval earlier than President-elect Joe Biden takes workplace, together with two simply days earlier than his inauguration.

The announcement comes a day after the federal Bureau of Prisons carried out the eighth federal execution this 12 months after a 17-year hiatus, and it’s more likely to improve stress on Biden to take a public stance on whether or not his administration would proceed to schedule executions as soon as he’s sworn in. Advocacy teams have known as on the Trump administration to pause all executions till Biden takes workplace.

Representatives for the Biden transition staff didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Friday evening.

In a court docket submitting Friday evening, the Justice Division stated it was scheduling the executions of Alfred Bourgeois for Dec. 11 and Cory Johnson and Dustin Higgs for Jan. 14 and 15. Two different executions had already been scheduled for this 12 months, together with the primary lady scheduled to be executed by the federal authorities in about six many years — although on Thursday, a federal choose dominated that execution couldn’t proceed earlier than the top of the 12 months.

Prosecutors say Bourgeois tortured, sexually molested, after which beat his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to dying. Courtroom data say Bourgeois repeatedly beat the younger woman and punched her within the face, whipped her with {an electrical} twine and beat her with a belt so arduous that it broke. He additionally allegedly burned her toes with a cigarette lighter and hit her within the head with a baseball bat till her head swelled.

Johnson was considered one of three crack cocaine sellers convicted in a string of murders. Prosecutors stated he killed seven folks in in an try to broaden the territory of a Richmond, Virginia, gang and silence informants. His co-defendants James H. Roane Jr. and Richard Tipton, members of similar drug gang, are additionally on dying row.

Johnson’s attorneys argue their consumer is intellectually disabled, and thus it will be unconstitutional to place him to dying. The Supreme Courtroom has held that it’s illegal to execute an individual who’s of such a low intelligence that they’ll’t operate in society.

However they argue that “no jury or court docket has ever listened to the proof at a listening to to determine if he has mental incapacity.”

“We aren’t conscious of another federal dying penalty prisoner who has by no means had a single evidentiary listening to at which he might current his mental incapacity proof. The federal government shouldn’t proceed with Mr. Johnson’s execution within the absence of an intensive and truthful alternative for him to current this proof,” the attorneys, Ronald J. Tabak and Donald P. Salzman, stated in an announcement.

Higgs was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of three girls, Tamika Black, Mishann Chinn and Tanji Jackson, at a federal wildlife heart close to Beltsville, Maryland. Prosecutors say Higgs and two others kidnapped the ladies after Higgs grew to become enraged as a result of one of many girls rebuffed his advances at celebration.

Higgs’ lawyer, Sean Nolan, stated his consumer didn’t kill anybody, had ineffective attorneys and didn’t deserve the dying penalty. Higgs’ co-defendant, who prosecutors stated carried out the killings, was not sentenced to dying and Nolan stated it’s “arbitrary and inequitable to punish Mr. Higgs extra severely than the one that dedicated the murders.”

“Mr. Higgs deserves clemency due to the unfair sentencing disparity … and since, regardless of the tragedy and hardship of his formative years, he has been a mannequin prisoner and is an energetic father or mother who is important to the well-being of his son,” Nolan stated.