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Federal prisoner scheduled for Nov. 15 execution seeks clemency


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Federal death row inmate David Paul Hammer, who this year battled legal attempts by death penalty foes to halt his execution, has filed for clemency, according to Justice Department officials.

Hammer has at times said he wants the sentence carried out promptly, but at other times has indicated his desire to live, according to death penalty opponents and corrections officials.

Receipt of Hammer's clemency petition by the U.S. Pardon Attorney Monday apparently places Hammer's fate in the hands of President Clinton.

Hammer, 41, is scheduled to die by lethal injection November 15 in the federal execution chamber at the U.S. Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana. He would be the first federal prisoner to be executed in 37 years.

Hammer is on death row for the 1996 murder of another inmate at the U.S. Penitentiary in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. Earlier Hammer had been convicted in Oklahoma of kidnapping, attempted murder, armed robbery and prison escape.

A federal appeals court in August agreed to dismiss an appeal of Hammer's death sentence filed by death penalty opponents against Hammer's stated wishes.

The Bureau of Prisons last month set the November execution date after a federal judge in Pennsylvania ordered corrections officials to proceed with plans for the execution.

The Justice Department did not release copies of clemency petition, and attorneys involved in Hammer's case were not immediately available.

President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and Texas Governor George W. Bush have all stated support for the death penalty if adequate legal representation and absence of racial or ethnic bias are assured. Hammer is white.

The next federal death row inmate scheduled to die is Juan Garza, an Hispanic man who faces execution December 12 for murders committed in connection with drug trafficking.

The last person executed by the U.S. government was Victor Feguer, who was hanged at the Iowa State Penitentiary in 1963 after his conviction for kidnapping and killing a physician.

First federal execution in 37 years set for Nov. 15
September 22, 2000
Reno says she finds no basis for moratorium on federal death penalty
September 12, 2000
y: Death penalty dilemma: Executing the innocent?
February 2000
Condemned Georgia inmate asks for mercy
August 22, 2000
Texas man put to death for murders 14 years ago
August 9, 2000
Texas executes man said to be mentally retarded
August 9, 2000
Clinton to postpone first federal execution in nearly 40 years
July 7, 2000
Why states don't confess error in death penalty cases
June 12, 2000

U.S. Department of Justice
Cornell Legal Information Institute
Supreme Court Historical Society
Death Penalty Information Center
Focus on the Death Penalty -- University of Alaska, Anchorage

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