In the final weeks of President Trump’s term, his administration intends to execute three inmates on federal death row, the last scheduled executions by the Justice Department before the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has signaled he will end federal use of capital punishment.
Since July, when it resumed carrying out the death penalty after a 17-year hiatus, the Trump administration has executed seven federal inmates. Weeks before Mr. Biden is sworn in, the three inmates face the prospect of being the last federal prisoners to die by capital punishment for at least as long as Mr. Biden remains in office.
Orlando Cordia Hall, 49, convicted in the brutal death of a teenage girl, is scheduled to be executed on Thursday. Two other prisoners are to be executed in December, including Lisa M. Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row.
Mr. Biden has pledged to eliminate the death penalty. His campaign promised to work to pass legislation to end capital punishment on the federal level and offer incentives to states to follow suit. An aide reiterated Mr. Biden’s platform when asked how he planned to do so and did not respond to requests for comment on the scheduled executions.
The Justice Department under Mr. Trump resumed federal capital punishment this summer after a nearly two-decade informal moratorium. Before then, only three people had been executed by the federal government in the past 50 years, according to Bureau of Prisons data.
Federal executions during a transition of power are extremely unusual, according to Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. He said that presidents have generally deferred to incoming administrations.
“This is another part of the Trump legacy that’s inconsistent with American norms,” he said. “If the administration followed the normal rules of civility that have been followed throughout the history in this country, it wouldn’t be an issue. The executions wouldn’t go forward.”
The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment about the timing of the executions.