- By Native News Online Staff
WASHINGTON — A federal judge has denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have halted the execution this evening of Navajo citizen Lezmond Mitchell.
Judge Royce C. Lambert of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied Mitchell's request, which came as part of a lawsuit filed yesterday against Attorney General William Barr and several other government officials.
Mitchell's lawsuit raised three constitutional claims, arguing that Barr and other defendants deprived the Navajo man of his due process rights and also violated his Eight Amendment protection against the arbitrary infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. Mitchell also claimed the defendants violated the Equal Protection Clause by creating "an arbitary system of clemency evaluation."
In his legal opinion, Lambert wrote that none of the claims was likely to succeed on their merits.
The DC court's denial came a day after the Supreme Court denied Mitchell's request for a stay of execution.
Mitchell was convicted two decades ago of crimes that stunned Indian Country, killing a 63-year old Navajo woman and her nine-year old grandaughter on the Navajo reservation. He was sentenced to death after being convicted of robbery, firearms violations, murder, kidnapping and carjacking resulting in death.
Barring a last-minute stay or pardon by the President, Mitchell will be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. (EDT) this evening at the federal correctional facility in Terre Haute, Ind.
Celebrating 10 years of Native News...
We launched Native News Online back in February 2011 with the belief that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. We hope it inspires you to celebrate our first decade with a gift of $10 or more to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.