Holder Calls for Halt to US Executions

Attorney General Eric Holder called Tuesday for a national moratorium on the death penalty until the Supreme Court weighs in on the issue later this year.

“Our system of justice is the best in the world. It is comprised of men and women who do the best they can, get it right more often than not, substantially more right than wrong. But there’s always the possibility that mistakes will be made,” he said.

“It is one thing to put somebody in jail for an extended period of time, have some new test that you can do and determine that person was, in fact, innocent. There is no ability to correct a mistake where somebody has, in fact, been executed. And that is from my perspective the ultimate nightmare.”

Holder went on to say he disagrees with Justice Antonin Scalia, who has said the U.S. has never executed an innocent person.

“It’s inevitable,” he said during a luncheon at the National Press Club.

Late last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal the from death row inmates in Oklahoma who are challenging the state’s procedures for lethal injections.

“I think a moratorium until the Supreme Court makes that decision would be appropriate,” Holder said.