Attorney General Eric Holder is instructing prosecutors to seek the death penalty at roughly the same rate as President Bush’s last attorney general, Michael Mukasey, reports National Public Radio. Holder said at his confirmation hearing that he is not a proponent of the death penalty.
The Federal Death Penalty Resource Center says President Bush’s first attorney general, John Ashcroft, greenlighted 139 federal death penalty prosecutions out of 641 cases that might have been eligible for capital punishment. That’s a 22 percent approval rate. Successor Alberto Gonzales authorized prosecutors to seek the death penalty in 81 out of 423 possible cases, for a 19 percent approval rate. Michael Mukasey approved 21 out of 159 cases, a 13 percent approval rate. As of Oct. 3, Holder had authorized prosecutors to seek the death penalty in 7 cases out of 61 that might have been eligible for capital punishment. That’s an 11 percent approval rate.