NE: Gov. approves lethal injection protocol, clears way for executions to resume

Started by Rick4404, September 26, 2009, 10:09:59 PM

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Rick4404

September 26, 2009, 10:09:59 PM Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 10:14:50 PM by Rick4404
It appears that a lethal injection protocol for Nebraska is still a work in progress. Corrections officials are in the process of formulating a written protocol, which will be utilized when Nebraska begins to carry out executions by means of lethal injection. State lawmakers approved legislation this spring to make the switch to lethal injection after a number of years of debate on the subject. Gov. David Heineman signed the bill into law after Nebraska's single house legislative body passed the legislation.

Before the protocol can be finalized, it must be presented to the public at a series of public information meetings. Nebraska is an open government state. All new policies and procedures of state agencies must be presented to the public at a series of meetings. While these meetings are usually not well attended, the law requires that they be held. Those who do attend are permitted the opportunity to give verbal or written comments. It is not anticipated that Nebraska will carry out another execution until sometime in 2010 at the earliest.

Stay tuned.

From the Lincoln Journal-Star newspaper:

Quote
Nebraska consulting with other states on death penalty
By NATE JENKINS
The Associated Press
Posted: Monday, August 10, 2009 1:00 pm 

Nebraska officials have obtained advice from execution experts in Kentucky and Texas on a protocol to carry out the state's new lethal-injection law, and say they could have a proposal by this fall.

"We've been moving this with haste because we knew that we wanted these procedures developed'' as soon as possible,'' said Robert Houston, director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.

In May, Nebraska lawmakers and Gov. Dave Heineman approved legislation making lethal injection the means of executing the state's condemned killers. It replaces electrocution, which the state Supreme Court in February 2008 ruled was cruel and unusual punishment.

Nebraska was the only state with electrocution as its sole means of execution, and while the lethal-injection law goes into effect Sept. 1, executions can't be carried out until a protocol is developed. Experts have said they don't expect an execution in Nebraska for several years; the last execution in the state was in 1997.

There are 11 people on Nebraska's death row.

The procedure being developed will specify the drugs used to kill and the sequence in which they will be administered, among other things.

It is expected to be similar to the Kentucky protocol, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

Two of the U.S. Supreme Court's nine justices disagreed with the majority but said if Kentucky's lethal injection procedure contained safeguards to ensure inmates were unconscious before they're killed -- such as calling out the inmate's name or shaking him -- they would have found it constitutional.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning has recommended those concerns be addressed in any injection protocol Nebraska might adopt.

"A lot of what we do will be similar'' to the Kentucky protocol, Houston said Monday. "-I can't say at this point it will be duplicative.''

Unlike in some other states where the execution procedures are kept secret, Nebraska's will be formally considered for approval through a series of public hearings.

A final proposal will be reviewed by the attorney general and the governor for final approval.

Death-penalty opponents have criticized the state for having a lethal-injection law but lacking a protocol to implement it. In a motion filed with the state Supreme Court less than a week after lethal injection was approved in May, the attorney whose court challenge led to the scrapping of the electric chair argued that lawmakers couldn't delegate the job of devising a protocol to the executive branch.

But the state Supreme Court refused to consider the motion filed by Jerry Soucie on behalf of death-row inmate Raymond Mata Jr.

Posted in State-and-regional on Monday, August 10, 2009 1:00 pm Updated: 9:54 am.


JT

Isn't Mata the inmate who is out of appeals and is consequently shit out of luck as soon as the new protocol comes into force?  Hopefully, I'll be getting to post "Adios, Ray..." soon.  8)

I think this is his attorney's Facefook profile: http://www.facebook.com/people/Jerry-Soucie/1406405253.  Y'all stop by and let him know how you feel.  ;)
JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.

Rick4404

You are correct. It sounds like it's going to be at least the spring or summer months of 2010 before the corrections department in Nebraska will be ready to conduct a lethal injection. They need to retrofit the state's execution chamber from housing an electric chair with all of the related apparatuses to housing the items necessary to carry out a lethal injection.

JT

Y'know, I'd freely write the lethal injection protocol for those nice folks over in Nebraska... All I'd ask is that they let me perform the first execution so that I can be sure it works properly... 8)

One thing did just strike me after reading your post:





That room looks like it's going to be very cramped when they stick a lethal injection gurney in there.  However, in terms of retrofitting the chamber, I can't imagine it would be too difficult.  Just gotta remove the chair (and its associated wiring) and fit the gurney in its place, and then use a hole saw or a paddle bit to drill a channel into the wall to run the IV tubes through to the executioner's room.  The generator will invariably be located somewhere in the back, so they'll no doubt strip that out too.
JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.

Rick4404

As I recall, the generator and the control panel are located in the adjacent room, which is to the right as you are looking into the execution chamber from the viewing room.  During the "48 Hours" segment "Death by Midnight...the final countdown" on CBS, Richard Schlessinger was shown the room by the deputy warden who gave him unprecedented access to the execution chamber area; and Schlessinger was also present when the deputy warden activated the chair for a test prior to the Harold Otey execution.  Both cables were placed into a bucket of water and when the water boiled, it was an indication that the current was good.

They should be able to fit a gurney in there and as you said, drill holes in the wall underneath the window to lead the IV lines through.

heidi salazar

Neb. lethal-injection plan advances

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A proposed lethal-injection protocol in Nebraska has been submitted to Attorney General Jon Bruning for approval.



Last week, the state Department of Correctional Services signed off on the three-drug cocktail and the process of administering it to death-row inmates.

The department devised the proposed protocol and did not make any changes to the proposal after some raised concerns about it, including that it doesn't clearly specify how workers should be trained to administer the drugs.

If Bruning approves the proposal, it will go to Gov. Dave Heineman for final approval.

Nebraska has been without a means of carrying out the death penalty since early last year, when the state Supreme Court deemed the electric chair cruel and unusual punishment.

http://www.ktiv.com/Global/story.asp?S=11639630

Moh

Ruling May Be Sign For Neb. Death Penalty

Ruling On Ark. Protocol Gives Possible Hope For Supporters
By NATE JENKINS
Associated Press Writer
Published: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 12:07 AM CST
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska death-penalty supporters got a sign from Arkansas on Monday that a proposed lethal-injection protocol might withstand a court challenge if OK'd, as expected, by the governor.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Arkansas' lethal injection protocol, saying "we conclude that it is designed to avoid the needless infliction of pain, not to cause it."

The 8th Circuit covers Nebraska, as well as Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Its rulings set precedent for courts in those states.

The three-drug protocol in Arkansas is similar to the one expected to be approved by Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman.

"We're confident of the constitutionality of Nebraska's lethal-injection protocol and this ruling reinforces that confidence," said Allen Forkner, spokesman for Attorney General Jon Bruning.

Last year, Nebraska lawmakers approved lethal injection as a replacement for electrocution.

Their approval followed a 2008 state Supreme Court decision that struck down use of the electric chair, saying it was cruel and unusual punishment.

Nebraska has technically been without a means of carrying out the death penalty since then, but the state hasn't had an execution for 13 years and experts say they don't expect one for several more.

While the court decision bodes well for lethal-injection supporters in Nebraska, it doesn't address issues an attorney said he expected to be raised in the first lawsuits challenging Nebraska's lethal-injection protocol.

"The Nebraska issue relates to the procedure by which the Legislature delegated responsibility to the Department of Corrections," to devise the actual steps in the lethal-injection protocol, said Jerry Soucie. It was Soucie's court challenge while defending death-row inmate Raymond Mata Jr. that led the state Supreme Court to throw out the state's use of the electric chair in 2008.

"That issue needs to be addressed before you get to the question of the specific protocol."

Nebraska lawmakers approved lethal injection as a replacement for electrocution, but the exact three-drug cocktail and the process of administering it was devised by state corrections' officials in consultation with several other states, not including Arkansas.

Lawmakers have said using the rule-making process to craft the protocol would provide flexibility to comply with the most up-to-date court rulings on lethal injection.

Bruning approved the protocol after reviewing the proposal from the corrections' department. It was sent to Heineman's office last month for review.

Heineman, a lethal-injection supporter, is expected to sign off on the protocol.

http://www.yankton.net/articles/2010/02/09/news/doc4b70f95c49051458490385.txt

heidi salazar

[bGovernor OKs lethal injection mix][/b]

Gov. Dave Heineman today approved rules and regulations for executing prisoners with a 3-drug cocktail.

His approval clears the way for the state to resume executing people on death row.

The regulations will take effect after being filed with the Secretary of State's office, generally a formality.

The rules and regulations carry out a law passed last year that changed the state's method of execution from electrocution to lethal injection.

As spelled out in the new rules, Nebraska's execution protocol would be similar to the practices used in other states that carry out the death penalty by lethal injection.

It would involve 3 drugs given in succession -- an anesthetic, a paralyzing agent and, finally, a drug to stop the prisoner's heart.

The rules spell out the order and dosage of the drugs.

The warden would to do "consciousness checks" after the 1st drug is administered. The checks are to determine whether the prisoner is anesthetized before giving the 2nd drug, a paralyzing agent.

A team of at least 12 people would be required to carry out an execution.

None would have to be a licensed health care professional, although 2 team members would have to get training as emergency medical technicians and in drawing blood and starting IV lines.

The execution team would include the department director, the Nebraska State Penitentiary warden, the penitentiary staff communicator, at least 7 people to escort the prisoner and a 2-person IV team. The IV team is to start an intravenous line and administer the drugs when the director orders.

(source: Omaha World-Herald)

Rick4404

#8
February 12, 2010, 12:54:19 AM Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 07:20:37 PM by Rick4404
I assume this frees Nebraska's attorney general to start petitioning the state supreme court for some execution dates. In Nebraska, execution warrants are issued by the state supreme court. A Department of Correctional Services spokesperson said it could take several months to retrofit the state's death chamber to carry out lethal injections.

Therefore, don't expect any quick executions in Nebraska. Perhaps by this summer or early fall, we might be hearing about the state's first execution via lethal injection.

Quote
Published Wednesday February 10, 2010
Governor OKs lethal injection mix

By Martha Stoddard
WORLD-HERALD BUREAU

LINCOLN -- Gov. Dave Heineman today approved rules and regulations for executing prisoners with a three-drug cocktail.

His approval clears the way for the state to resume executing people on death row.

The regulations will take effect after being filed with the Secretary of State's office, generally a formality.

The rules and regulations carry out a law passed last year that changed the state's method of execution from electrocution to lethal injection.

As spelled out in the new rules, Nebraska's execution protocol would be similar to the practices used in other states that carry out the death penalty by lethal injection.

It would involve three drugs given in succession -- an anesthetic, a paralyzing agent and, finally, a drug to stop the prisoner's heart.

The rules spell out the order and dosage of the drugs.

The warden would to do "consciousness checks" after the first drug is administered. The checks are to determine whether the prisoner is anesthetized before giving the second drug, a paralyzing agent.

A team of at least 12 people would be required to carry out an execution.

None would have to be a licensed health care professional, although two team members would have to get training as emergency medical technicians and in drawing blood and starting IV lines.

The execution team would include the department director, the Nebraska State Penitentiary warden, the penitentiary staff communicator, at least seven people to escort the prisoner and a two-person IV team. The IV team is to start an intravenous line and administer the drugs when the director orders.

http://www.omaha.com/article/20100210/NEWS97/100219971




Rick4404

NEBRASKA ADMINISTRATIVE CODE

Title 69 - DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES


Chapter 11 - EXECUTION PROTOCOL

001 Authority. When the Director of the State of Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (Director) receives an order of the Nebraska Supreme Court directing the enforcement of a sentence of death, that order will be carried out pursuant to Laws 2009, L.B. 36.  The Director has the authority to create and modify this protocol.

002 Location. Executions will be performed in the execution chamber at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.

003 Execution Team. The Director shall appoint and remove all members of the Execution Team at his or her discretion.  The Execution Team shall consist of the following:

003.01 The Director

003.02 The Warden of the Nebraska State Penitentiary (Warden)

003.03 The Nebraska State Penitentiary Staff Communicator (Staff Communicator)

003.04 An Escort Team consisting of an Escort Team Leader and an Escort Team   comprised of at least six additional individuals.

003.05 An IV Team consisting of an IV Team Leader and a single IV Team Member.

004 Execution Team Qualifications

004.01The Director, Warden and Staff Communicator are qualified by the responsibilities of the positions they hold within the Department and the completion of any specific training required by this protocol.

004.02 Escort Team.  The Escort Team shall be correctional employees with training or experience in escorting secured prisoners on behalf of the Department.

004.03 IV Team. The IV Team Leader and IV Team Member shall be individuals trained in venipuncture and catheter placement to maintain an open intravenous line; shall have successfully completed training as an emergency medical technician and training in phlebotomy; shall have successfully completed training to initiate the flow of saline solution by IV, the injection of substances into an IV line, and to select a syringe set(s) capable of accomplishing the requirements of this protocol.

005 Execution Team Duties

005.01The Director (1) has the responsibility to obey orders of the Nebraska Supreme Court directing the enforcement of a sentence of death; (2) appoints and removes members of the Execution team at his or her discretion; (3) supervises, directs and maintains a record of the qualifications and training of the Execution Team pursuant to this protocol; (4) shall be physically present at the execution; (5) shall direct the administration of all substances to the prisoner in accordance with this protocol; (6) shall summon a coroner to pronounce the death of the condemned inmate; and (7) shall certify the death of the condemned inmate to the appropriate court.

005.02 The Warden, under the supervision of the Director, shall (1) assure that court ordered executions in Nebraska are conducted pursuant to this protocol; (2) be physically present at the execution; (3) be trained in and shall conduct the consciousness checks required by this protocol after the administration of the sodium thiopental; (4) if he or she is unable to reasonably verify that the condemned inmate is unconscious, he or she shall communicate to the Director that an additional dose of sodium thiopental should be administered; and (5) after he or she has reasonably verified that the condemned inmate is unconscious shall communicate that fact to the Director.

005.03 Nebraska State Penitentiary Staff Communicator, under the supervision of the Warden, shall (1) maintain a written record of activities related to this protocol beginning when the Escort Team delivers the condemned prisoner to the execution chamber; and (2) serve as the Director's communication liaison with representatives of the Nebraska Department of Justice.

005.04 The Escort Team shall (1) assume custody of the condemned inmate at the Nebraska State Penitentiary Hospital; (2) secure the condemned inmate; (3) escort or otherwise deliver the condemned inmate from the Nebraska State Penitentiary Hospital to the execution chamber; (4) place the condemned inmate on the table in the execution chamber; (5) secure the condemned inmate to the table in the execution chamber; (6) exit the execution chamber; and (7) remain outside the execution chamber to respond to any inmate control issues that may arise until dismissed by the Director.

005.05 The IV Team Leader shall (1) obtain and maintain appropriate materials and equipment to accomplish his or her responsibilities under this protocol; (2) at least 48 hours before the scheduled execution date examine the condemned inmate to determine appropriate locations for intravenous catheter placement and report the results of that examination to the Director; (3) on the date of the execution, obtain, prepare and deliver to the execution chamber the substances identified by this protocol for injection into the condemned inmate; (4) once the condemned inmate is secured by the Escort Team on the table in the execution chamber, establish a functioning intravenous line capable of administering the lethal substances identified by this protocol into a vein of the condemned inmate; (5) attach a heart monitor to the condemned inmate; (6) exit the execution chamber; (7) be prepared to correct any issues with respect to the intravenous line or condemned inmate's vascular system that might prevent or impede the injection of the lethal substances; (8 ) at the order of the Director, administer to the condemned inmate through the established intravenous line the lethal substances identified by this protocol in the order described by this protocol; (9) remain at his or her post until dismissed by the Director; (10) dispose of any substances or equipment employed in meeting the requirements of this protocol.   

005.06 The IV Team shall assist the IV Team Leader as directed and be prepared to assume the responsibilities of the IV Team Leader should the IV Team Leader become unable to perform his or her responsibilities.


006 Execution Team Training

006.01 Training schedule. 

006.01.01When no execution date has been set by the Nebraska Supreme Court, the members of the Execution Team shall train at least once every six months at a time established by the Director. The Escort Team and the IV Team may train independently of the other members of the Execution Team.

006.01.02 When an execution date has been set by the Nebraska Supreme Court the Execution Team will train at least weekly at times established by the Director.

006.02 Training required. In addition to the qualifications noted in this protocol, the Execution Team shall train as follows.

006.02.01 Execution Team as a whole. When the training schedule requires weekly training, all members of the Execution Team shall participate in training as a unit, review this protocol, and engage in one or more drills in which all members enact their individual responsibilities (with the exception of intravenous catheter placement and use of saline and lethal substances) as established by this protocol.

006.02.02 Warden. The Warden will be trained in performing the consciousness checks required by this protocol.  The Warden will be trained by the IV Team Leader or other individual(s) familiar with the consciousness check techniques required by this protocol in order to reasonably verify whether the condemned inmate is unconscious.

006.03 Training documentation.  All training of the members of the Execution Team will be documented noting the date and duration of the training, who supervised the training, and the activities undertaken.


007 Consciousness Checks 

007.01 As used in this protocol the consciousness checks to be performed on the condemned inmate shall consist of the following.

007.01.01Brushing the eye lashes of one eye of the condemned inmate with the fingers of a hand, observing any involuntary muscular response; and

007.01.02 Opening one eye of the condemned inmate and passing over it a light source observing the pupil's reaction to the light.

008 Lethal Substances 

008.01 Identification.  Executions shall be accomplished by the intravenous injection of the following substances into the condemned inmate by the method described in this protocol.

008.01.01 Sodium thiopental

008.01.02 Pancuronium bromide

008.01.03 Potassium chloride

008.02 Administration of the lethal substances.  The lethal substances shall be administered to the condemned inmate by the mechanism described in this protocol.  They shall be administered in the following order and dosages.

008.02.01 Sodium thiopental will initially be administered in one 3 gram dose. There will be a waiting period of at least one minute between the administration of the sodium thiopental and conducting the consciousness checks.  If unconsciousness is not verified by the Warden after the administration of the initial dose, additional 3 gram doses will be administered and consciousness checks conducted after the administration of each dose until unconsciousness is verified.

008.02.02 Once unconsciousness is verified, pancuronium bromide will be administered in one dose of 50 mg/100 ml.
   
008.02.03 Once the pancuronium bromide has been administered, potassium chloride will be the third lethal substance administered in one dose of 240 Meq. 

008.02.04 A 50cc saline flush will be administered following each injection of a lethal substance.
 
008.02.05 If the coroner does not pronounce the condemned inmate dead at the conclusion of this process, the Director shall order the execution process repeated in the manner described by this protocol.

009 Procurement and inventory of lethal substances

009.01 The Director shall purchase two complete sets of the described lethal substances unless the Director determines that additional quantities should be kept in inventory.

009.02 The described lethal substances shall be purchased through the Department Pharmaceutical Supervisor or through some other appropriate source. 

009.03 The purchase of the lethal substances will be treated as the purchase of high security items and their receipt and delivery are not subject to standard business delivery procedures, but will be delivered directly into the custody of the Director.

009.04 The Director shall document the order and receipt of the lethal substances and provide for their maintenance and storage.

009.05 The inventory of lethal substances will be reviewed every six months and also immediately upon receipt of an execution order from the Nebraska Supreme Court.

009.06 Expired lethal substances will be cleared from inventory and replaced.



JT

Looks like they're all good to go to me...
JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.

Rick4404

#11
July 16, 2014, 02:04:35 PM Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 02:21:02 PM by Rick4404

Y'know, I'd freely write the lethal injection protocol for those nice folks over in Nebraska... All I'd ask is that they let me perform the first execution so that I can be sure it works properly... 8)

One thing did just strike me after reading your post:





That room looks like it's going to be very cramped when they stick a lethal injection gurney in there.  However, in terms of retrofitting the chamber, I can't imagine it would be too difficult.  Just gotta remove the chair (and its associated wiring) and fit the gurney in its place, and then use a hole saw or a paddle bit to drill a channel into the wall to run the IV tubes through to the executioner's room.  The generator will invariably be located somewhere in the back, so they'll no doubt strip that out too.

Well, someone posted a portion of the CBS News 48 Hours segment, "Death by Midnight the Final Countdown" on YouTube.  The segment where the deputy warden activated the electrical apparatus for the test of the chair. He unlocked what looked like an ordinary electrical box on the wall and pulled the switch arm which then sent current through the electrical apparatus -- probably a transformer which amps up regular 110-120 volts which is commonly used for most electrical appliances up to the over 2,000 volts that are used in an electrocution. The deputy warden's response to Richard Schlessinger's question, "Is the chair working?"  He replied.  "It's working well."

When the Department of Corrections retrofitted the execution facility for lethal injection, you are correct, they stripped out the electric chair and the related electrical wiring from the execution chamber.  It was replaced with a gurney and a one way mirror, where an executioner can look into the chamber, but the condemned person being executed and the others who are in the chamber can't look back through. Also, the anteroom next to the chamber was retrofitted as needed to carry out a lethal injection. Also, the small viewing room was divided in order that family members of the victim(s) and family members of the condemned could be separated.




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