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The Department of Justice under President Biden has withdrawn from pursuing the death penalty in at least a dozen cases since Attorney General Merrick Garland has been at the helm, according to a new report, rolling back capital punishment recommendations from previous administrations — both Republican and Democrat.
The Houston Chronicle reported Monday that officials told the newspaper Garland has pulled notices of intent to seek the death penalty in 12 cases thus far, including one from the area.
Earlier this month, James Wayne Ham of Coldspring, Texas, was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to shooting his postal worker, beloved grandmother Eddie Marie Youngblood, and burning her remains in 2013. Garland had withdrawn the Justice Department‘s statement of intent to seek the penalty the week before Ham’s sentencing and then agreed to the plea deal.
The DOJ under former President Obama had recommended the death penalty for Ham, and former President Trump’s administration had rejected earlier plea offers while continuing to pursue capital punishment in the case.
Garland issued a moratorium on federal executions in July. The practice had been on pause for nearly two decades before Attorney General William Barr allowed them to move forward last year when the DOJ pushed through 13 executions in the final months of the Trump administration.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has not yet withdrawn the death penalty recommendations for a slew of cases, including convicted killer Dylann Roof, who murdered nine members of a Black congregation in a 2015 hate crime, and Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who killed three people in 2013.
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News’ Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.