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General Death Penalty => State by State Death Penalty Information and News => Washington Death Penalty News => Topic started by: Guest on April 08, 2006, 11:23:07 AM

Title: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Guest on April 08, 2006, 11:23:07 AM
Washington Supreme Court Closely Divided on Rationality of State's Death Penalty
The Washington State Supreme Court recently came within one vote of effectively abolishing the state's death penalty when it ruled in the case of death row inmate Dayva Cross.  Cross is on death row for the murder of his wife and her two teenage daughters.  Attorneys for Cross had argued that their client should not be executed because killers who had committed worse crimes had been spared the death penalty. The 2003 case of Green River Killer Gary Ridgway, who received a life sentence in exchange for a detailed confession about killing 48 young women, was among the chief examples used by Cross' attorneys.

The court's 5-4 ruling upholding Cross' death sentence revealed a deep division about the future of the state's law. Writing for the majority, Justice Tom Chambers said the "moral question" of whether those on death row can be executed while a notorious serial killer is given life is best left to state lawmakers or the people of Washington.

A dissenting opinion authored by Justice Charles Johnson stated, "When Gary Ridgway, the worst mass murderer in this state's history, escapes the death penalty, serious flaws become apparent. The Ridgway case does not 'stand alone,' as characterized by the majority, but instead is symptomatic of a system where all mass murderers have, to date, escaped the death penalty. . . . The death penalty is like lightning, randomly striking some defendants and not others. Where the death penalty is not imposed on Gary Ridgway, Ben Ng and Kwan Fai Mak (the latter two convicted in Seattle's 1983 Wah Mee massacre), who represent the worst mass murders in Washington's history, on what basis do we determine on whom it is imposed? No rational explanation exists to explain why some individuals escape the penalty of death and others do not."

An editorial in the News Tribune echoed the dissenting justices' opinion, stating:

Since the 1960s, Washington has executed only 4 condemned murderers - and three of those sought death by refusing to appeal their sentences.

The rarity of executions speaks well of this state. But it has created a new grounds of appeal: that there is no logic or consistency in the way death penalties are handed down and carried out in Washington.
. . .
We're reluctant to argue for abolishing Washington's narrowly drawn death penalty, which reflects the will of the electorate. But Johnson's argument is hard to ignore in a state whose laws generally call for proportionate sentences for similar crimes.

With the likes of Ridgway, Ng and Mak living out their lives in prison, Dayva Cross? execution - if it ever happens - may well be the legal equivalent of a capricious bolt of lightning.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/newsanddev.php?scid=59
Title: Re: Washington Supreme Court Closely Divided on Rationality of State's Death Penalty
Post by: Donnie on April 20, 2006, 03:49:41 AM
Quote
Writing for the majority, Justice Tom Chambers said the "moral question" of whether those on death row can be executed while a notorious serial killer is given life is best left to state lawmakers or the people of Washington.
There is no moral question.  Just as there is no moral question about the fact that some innocent people are murdered and others are not.  It is hard for me to believe that a judge can be this stupid.

Quote
A dissenting opinion authored by Justice Charles Johnson stated, "When Gary Ridgway, the worst mass murderer in this state's history, escapes the death penalty, serious flaws become apparent.
Not only do no flaws become apparent, this is not an indication of any flaws at all.   This man should not be a judge because he has no ablity to think rationally

Quote
The death penalty is like lightning, randomly striking some defendants and not others.
So what?  Is there a point here?

Quote
Where the death penalty is not imposed on Gary Ridgway, Ben Ng and Kwan Fai Mak (the latter two convicted in Seattle's 1983 Wah Mee massacre), who represent the worst mass murders in Washington's history, on what basis do we determine on whom it is imposed?
If this were an important question (which it isn't) an even better question, that affects many more people would be: "On what basis do we determine whom we will protect from murder?"

Quote
No rational explanation exists to explain why some individuals escape the penalty of death and others do not."
There are actually several rational explanations.  This man is just too biased to face reality.  

Quote
An editorial in the News Tribune echoed the dissenting justices' opinion, stating:

Since the 1960s, Washington has executed only 4 condemned murderers - and three of those sought death by refusing to appeal their sentences.
The only problem with that is that it is far too few.

Quote
The rarity of executions speaks well of this state.
A vile and false comment.
Title: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Jeff1857 on September 28, 2007, 01:47:42 PM
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Just last year, the Washington Supreme Court  was divided 5-4 over the death penalty and speculation abounded that prosecutors wouldn't be able to use that tool much longer.

Foes contend the death penalty is "like lightning, randomly striking some defendants and not others." They noted that the Green River serial killer, Gary Ridgway, escaped the needle after killing 48 women, but that other killers drew the death penalty for killing far fewer.

Scholars and death penalty foes thought the court was edging toward abolishing capital punishment.

But on Thursday, a strong majority of the court backed away from that brink, not directly discussing the overarching constitutional debate, but defending the death penalty from attack on a number of fronts.

In a surprisingly lopsided 8-1 ruling, the state's highest court upheld the death sentence for serial killer Robert Yates Jr. The court said it refused to throw out capital punishment just because prosecutors are inconsistent in how they use it.

Pierce County Prosecutor Gerald Horne hailed the decision and said the death penalty was designed for heinous criminals like Yates, "the worst of the worst." Horne once called the state's death penalty a farce and a charade that should be abolished if the legal system can't really deal with it. But he said Thursday that prosecutors are happy to retain it as an option.

Yates was convicted for shooting  two Tacoma prostitutes and suffocating them by tying plastic grocery bags over their heads. The smelter worker and Air National Guard helicopter pilot also received a 408-year sentence for murdering 13 women in Spokane, Walla Walla and Skagit counties. All those victims were prostitutes he killed in the same manner as the Tacoma women.

The author of last year's anti-death penalty dissent, Justice Charles Johnson, switched to the majority on this case. The majority opinion was written by another of last year's dissenters, Justice Susan Owens, and dissenter Barbara Madsen also joined the Yates majority. They essentially conceded that they'd lost the battle last year and would now stick with precedent.

Yates had asked the court to take a fresh look at how capital punishment is applied here, pointing to Ridgway and to Yates' own experience of agreeing to a plea bargain in Spokane County and getting life in prison for slaying 13 women, but death for killing two Tacoma women.

That disparity shows that Washington state allows "disproportionate, freakish, wanton and random" application of the death penalty, Yates' lawyers told the high court last fall.

Yates also contested Pierce County's decision to withdraw from what he called a deal with the Spokane prosecutors to take the death penalty off the table in exchange for his guilty pleas and information about his victims.

But the high court swept away all of his points, saying prosecutors' discretion to seek the death penalty as they see fit doesn't pose a basic constitutional flaw in how the state applies capital punishment.

After Ridgway avoided lethal injection, legal scholars and lawmakers began debating whether the state could ever actually use capital punishment again.

The high court answered that question in clear terms Thursday.

Owens, in her majority opinion, quoted from last year's ruling she had resisted, saying it's on point in the Yates case: "Ridgway's abhorrent killings, standing alone, do not render the death penalty unconstitutional or disproportionate. Our law is not so fragile."

Yates' attorney, Gregory Link of the Washington Appellate Project, said he and Yates were deeply disappointed in the ruling. Link declined to criticize the court, but other attorneys said the justices have backtracked.

"The court was deeply divided on the proportionality question, 5-4, and they've stepped away from that," said Jeff Ellis, an attorney who heads the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

The court stuck with last year's precedent, a case involving a triple homicide in King County, and may be waiting for a later case to revisit the entire issue, he said in an interview.

The Yates' ruling "tells us the court isn't ready to engage in a serious discussion yet," he said.

State Senate  Judiciary Chairman Adam Kline, D-Seattle, who has tried to persuade his colleagues to study how the death penalty is applied in Washington, said Thursday it could be years before the courts or lawmakers abolish it.

"I'll bet the sea change won't happen in my tenure in Olympia or even in my lifetime," said the 61-year-old attorney.

The case is State of Washington v. Robert Lee Yates Jr., No. 73155-1.

Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Barbara on January 31, 2009, 06:01:44 PM
Being a resident of the Evergreen and highly questionable state, I cannot support the thinking of our officials with regard to the DP.  We have a full house on Death Row and are far too generous with LWOP.  I maintain, that the length of time spent on DR is far too long.  Appeals and arguments should be completed in 5 years.  The taxpayers are tired of being manipulated by a tired and lethargic government.  The amount of monies being spent to house these useless lumps of flesh is abominable!  I say, get to it, lets get it over with.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Michael on February 12, 2009, 06:58:56 PM
Man on Death Row for Bremerton Girl's Death Appeals Execution

A lawyer for two men on Washington's Death Row is appealing their execution order, arguing that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.

The Seattle Times reports Gil Levy filed an appeal this week in Thurston County Superior Court on behalf of Cal Coburn Brown and Jonathan Gentry.

The Seattle lawyer says the drugs used in lethal injections are not administered by a doctor. A Department of Corrections spokeswoman says a medical professional -- not necessarily a doctor -- can be on the team that administers the drugs.

The Washington state Penitentiary at Walla Walla is preparing to execute Brown on March 13. He tortured and killed a Burien woman in 1991. No execution date has been set for Gentry who killed a 12-year-old girl in 1981 near Bremerton.

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2009/feb/11/man-death-row-bremerton-girls-death-appeals-execut/ (http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2009/feb/11/man-death-row-bremerton-girls-death-appeals-execut/)
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: 63Wildcat on February 12, 2009, 08:00:15 PM

Being a resident of the Evergreen and highly questionable state, I cannot support the thinking of our officials with regard to the DP.  We have a full house on Death Row and are far too generous with LWOP.  I maintain, that the length of time spent on DR is far too long.  Appeals and arguments should be completed in 5 years.  The taxpayers are tired of being manipulated by a tired and lethargic government.  The amount of monies being spent to house these useless lumps of flesh is abominable!  I say, get to it, lets get it over with.


I agree Jingles... I'm a resident as well...
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: vikkiw47 on February 12, 2009, 08:21:09 PM
whoooooo jingles !!!!!!!!!!!!!   WELL SAID
Title: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: Jeff1857 on April 03, 2009, 03:10:12 AM
State's execution team resigns, fearing identities would be revealed


4 people who voluntarily administer lethal injections to death-row inmates at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla quit their positions this week, apparently worried that their identities could become public as a result of an ongoing court case to decide whether lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

4 people who voluntarily administer lethal injections to death-row inmates at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla quit their positions this week, apparently worried that their identities could become public as a result of an ongoing court case to decide whether lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

The four resigned Tuesday, which was the deadline Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham had set for the team's records -- detailing the members' credentials, qualifications and experience in administering lethal drugs -- to be submitted for his review.

The state is now without a lethal-injection team, and it's unclear what effect the resignations will have on the court proceedings.

Death-row inmate Darold Stenson, who was sentenced to die in 1994 for killing his wife and business partner, filed his lawsuit last year, claiming that lethal injection can result in excruciating pain if not administered correctly. 2 other death-row inmates, Jonathan Gentry and Cal Coburn Brown, later filed similar suits, and the 3 cases were consolidated.

"It's a surprising and disturbing development," said Scott Englehard, the attorney representing Gentry. "This issue has nothing to do with guarding their identities."

Englehard said the plaintiff's attorneys already agreed that no identifying information related to the team members would be disclosed. The records were to be reviewed in camera, a time-honored legal tradition in which only a judge sees sensitive and confidential documents and then decides what information attorneys will be privy to, he said.

His client and the other plaintiffs have a right to inquire about the team's "experience or qualifications to properly carry out a lethal-injection execution," Englehard said.

Dan Sytman, a spokesman for State Attorney General Rob McKenna, confirmed the resignations and said the four were worried about Wickham's order to have their records held under seal inside the state Attorney General's office. Typically, those records are kept in the office of the superintendent at the state penitentiary in Walla Walla, he said.

"They were concerned their identities would become known as the process went along," he said. "We believe the court can confirm the constitutionality of the lethal-injection procedure without knowing the qualifications, training and experience of each of the lethal-injection team members."

Team members, who must all meet minimum qualifications, were approached and asked to serve based on their respective backgrounds, Sytman said. 3 are current Department of Corrections (DOC) employees and the fourth is a retired employee, he said.

"Walla Walla is a small town, so it's not hard to figure out (someone's identity) based on their qualifications," Sytman said. "They don't want picketers showing up on their front lawns, and they don't want offenders knowing who they are."

The team members' identities are a closely guarded secret, known only to a handful of people, said Eldon Vail, secretary of the state DOC. He said even he doesn't know who serves on the team.

"Historically and in the future, we'll do everything we can to guard their identities," Vail said. "It's not easy finding individuals" willing to serve on the lethal-injection team, and anyone who participates in an execution does so voluntarily.

There are currently no scheduled executions, "so we have some time" to figure out how to go about assembling a new team, Vail said. He's been in touch with other officials in other states, who have agreed to send a lethal-injection team to Washington if needed, but only if members' names are kept confidential.

"This is a very, very difficult duty that state law requires," Vail said. "This is tough work for lots of people, and it is not taken lightly."

(source: Seattle Times)

Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: JeffB on April 03, 2009, 12:30:32 PM
He's been in touch with other officials in other states, who have agreed to send a lethal-injection team to Washington if needed, but only if members' names are kept confidential.

Yeah, I bet the boys in Texas would help them out as long as their expenses were paid..
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: Harold1253 on April 03, 2009, 02:59:50 PM
How about training volunteers, from a pool of the survivors families, and let them get their justice.  It's not hard to strick a needle into someone.
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: podmornica on April 03, 2009, 05:36:22 PM

How about training volunteers, from a pool of the survivors families, and let them get their justice.  It's not hard to strick a needle into someone.


How about Washington just bring back the drop?  I'm sure you don't need any medical qualifications to be a hangman.
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: Harold1253 on April 03, 2009, 08:58:32 PM
Great point POD...and Washington State has someone willing to take the bit in his teeth and dispense JUSTICE...our very own Wildcat63!
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: 63Wildcat on April 04, 2009, 12:40:53 AM

Great point POD...and Washington State has someone willing to take the bit in his teeth and dispense JUSTICE...our very own Wildcat63!


Yeah I will.. and I'll get JT to work with me. WTF was this idiot judge thinking? Sometimes I cannot fathom the sheer stupidity of those in Olympia.

JT GET YER ROPE LET'S ROLL!!!!
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: Hutchsmash on April 06, 2009, 06:36:13 AM
"Team members, who must all meet minimum qualifications, were approached and asked to serve based on their respective backgrounds"

So apparently these four people met these published qualifications, so why aren't the qualifications standards enough for the judge to decide the issue? 
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: JT on April 06, 2009, 09:15:05 AM
Yeah I will.. and I'll get JT to work with me. WTF was this idiot judge thinking? Sometimes I cannot fathom the sheer stupidity of those in Olympia.

JT GET YER ROPE LET'S ROLL!!!!


I'm ready when you are, Bruce... This could be our big break (no pun)!  ;D
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: Jeff1857 on April 09, 2009, 06:39:43 PM
The March 31 resignations of a four-member execution team at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla appeared to have been provoked by the likelihood their identities would surface in a court battle over the constitutionality of injections. News reports indicated the four anonymous volunteers, who administer the injections to death-row inmates, quit their posts over concern attorneys for three condemned inmates could leak the personal information being gathered for legal challenges.

The reports may be only half right, says Paul Wright. It was likely because of him the team resigned, he suspects. And the four volunteers should be worried their names will be made public, since he might reveal them in his magazine. A former inmate who served 17 years for second-degree murder of a drug dealer, Wright (above) is now editor and publisher of Prison Legal News. He filed a public records request with the state Department of Corrections in January asking for the identities of those who participate in executions.


"The history of state murder is there's never a shortage of executioners. But if we are going to have the death penalty the public should know who its killers are," he says. A controversial figure who regularly challenges the state to release sensitive documents, Wright sometimes has to go to court over them, but successfully: he won a record $541,000 fine from the state in 2007 after officials illegally withheld disciplinary records of prison medical providers.

The latest request came after the resignation late last year of the department's top medical officer Dr. Marc Stern, who said it was unethical for him - a physician sworn to save lives - to supervise executions. Wright, whose publication has frequently reported on questionable medical procedures in U.S. prison, says, "Knowing doctors, I figured if one resigned, at least a dozen would be happy to kill people. Hence the records request."

In part, he wants to find out who on the team is a doctor. If any show up on the records he obtains, says Wright, "I will review their medical discipline, criminal and litigation histories, and see what turns up. And PLN will most likely alert medical licensing authorities to the fact that medical personnel are violating their professional and ethical responsibilities." And yes, he'll publish their names.

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2009/04/behind_those_death_row_resigna.php
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: vikkiw47 on April 09, 2009, 06:45:23 PM
i DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS AT ALL! HE SERVED TIME FOR 2ND DEGREE MURDER RIGHT! HE IS CRAZY AS HECK! I DO NOT THINK THAT INFO SHOULD BE MADE PUBLIC AT ALL. BOY HE HAS SOME NERVE TO SAY THE LEAST ! HERE IS PRAYING HE DOES NOT GET HIS HANDS ON ANY KIND OF INFORMATION . 
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: Aussie4DR on April 09, 2009, 06:51:27 PM
Quote

"The history of state murder is there's never a shortage of executioners. But if we are going to have the death penalty the public should know who its killers are," he says. A controversial figure who regularly challenges the state to release sensitive documents, Wright sometimes has to go to court over them, but successfully: he won a record $541,000 fine from the state in 2007 after officials illegally withheld disciplinary records of prison medical providers.

Idiot! By definition a lawful state execution is not murder.
I wonder what he did with that half million bucks?
Hypocrite!
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: TDCJDR on April 10, 2009, 02:04:50 AM
The public already knows who the killers are.........  The ones that are on death row!!!!
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: Harold1253 on April 10, 2009, 03:34:37 PM
AMEN, TD....The men are instruments of the state.  Their job is to do the actual administration of JUSTICE as mandate by the citizens of the State of Washington.  One of the wonderful aspects of our country (USA) is freedom of choice.  These men have made a choice not to be the administers of the final verdict.  If no one else steps up to take the reins, subcontract the job to capable people.   The people on the execution team are no more murders than pest controll professionals (termite-terminators) are murderers.  Termites and roaches undermine the quality of our lives and houses...murderers undermine the quality of life and stability in our country!
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: Barbara on April 21, 2009, 11:43:41 PM
Oh, how embarrassing to be a resident of the Evergreen State!  If some elected officials would get off their money spending backside and pay attention to the electorate, SHE would see the balance of the people are fed up with the delays and innuendo that we are handed on a daily basis.  The DP is only one in a long line of her failures.  We do not need to support these murderers.  We need relief from them and the expense involved with maintaining them.  I, for one, would happily volunteer for the job of saying Sayonara to these AHs.

So, I say to the Government of this state, PROTECT THE IDENTITY OF THOSE INVOLVED IN THE FINAL PROCESS.  IT IS YOUR JOB, THAT IS WHY WE ELECTED YOU!

Angry, heck no, I'm not angry...I'm flat out Pissed!
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: vikkiw47 on April 22, 2009, 01:34:55 AM
Great Post Jingles !!! I totally agree
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: GlennBeckFan on April 22, 2009, 01:45:08 AM
Dear Washington State and Mr. Wright, concerned citizens, et al
In response to the resignation of the execution team for not wanting their identities revealed, I will for reimbursement of travel and lodging fees only, come to the place of execution and perform the said duties for you.  You may with my permission, reveal my name, address, etc and place my photo on a billboard along the interstate, as long as you don't mind the smile on my face as I insert the IV's in place.  (no air brushing please)   You may contact me via PM this site.
8)
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: JeffB on April 22, 2009, 12:37:10 PM
I'll join you Ret.  I'll even hold a large bore IV catheter in my hand for the billboard photo.. 
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: 63Wildcat on April 22, 2009, 02:36:49 PM
JeffB,
You and Leo can do the LI stuff... I've already got JT on board for the hanging portion. That should take care of the positions that were vacated. Now how cool would that be having 4 members of OFF2DR as executioners?
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: 63Wildcat on April 22, 2009, 02:39:36 PM
We (OFF2DR) now have 4 volunteers to replace those vacated positions of executioner, now if the gov't of WA will get their act together.... ::)
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: Harold1253 on April 22, 2009, 03:09:50 PM
I would gladly offer my services as escort and strapdown attendant.  You need a BIG guy for that, and I am one! 8)
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: Michael on April 22, 2009, 06:43:20 PM
You don´t need a big guy for their last walk Harold... after Jeff send some final words to them they´re nice as newborns...  ;D

Michael
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Jeff1857 on May 18, 2009, 01:36:56 PM
OLYMPIA - A lawsuit that could delay the executions of three men on Washington's death row alleges that the state Department of Corrections' method of administering lethal injections violates the state's constitutional protections against cruel punishment and unnecessary pain.

The three convicted killers named as plaintiffs in the suit - Darold Stenson, Cal Coburn Brown and Jonathan Gentry - will get their day in court Thursday, when the civil trial of their suit starts in Olympia before Thurston County Superior Judge Chris Wickham.


A brief by Stenson's attorneys filed May 5 finds fault with DOC's lethal injection protocols - and spells out in chilling detail how the improper administering of the drugs can cause "undue pain and suffering."


DOC's three-drug lethal injection protocol prescribes three drugs - three grams of sodium thiopental, 100 milligrams of pancuronium bromide and 240 millequivalents of potassium chloride.


According to the brief:


Sodium thiopental is a barbiturate and an ultra-short general anesthetic that, if properly administered, "will render the inmate unconscious."


Pancuronium bromide, the second drug to be administered during the lethal injection, "paralyzes all voluntary movement."


"Its administration without proper anesthetic would paralyze the inmate's diaphragm, causing the inmate to experience a feeling of suffocation, as the inmate would struggle to breathe but would not be able to," the brief says. Pancuronium bromide masks any outward signs of pain, creating the risk that an inmate will suffer "excruciating pain before death."


The third drug administered, potassium chloride, stops the heart. "Its injection into a conscious inmate would be extremely painful and would cause an excruciating burning feeling throughout his veins," the brief reads.


"When DOC employs a method of execution that is vulnerable to multiple errors, any one of which may result in the infliction of agonizing pain, it has a state constitutional obligation to provide adequate, practicable safeguards against those errors," says a brief filed by lawyers with the Perkins Coie firm in Seattle, which is representing Stenson in the suit.


Stenson's attorneys also argue that Washington's lethal injection protocols fail to meet the standards set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case arising from Kentucky. The Washington Attorney General has argued that DOC's protocols are "substantially similar" to the Kentucky protocols ruled to be constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Kentucky's lethal injection protocols include safeguards that are not included in Washington's protocols, according to Stenson's attorneys' brief. Among the alleged differences:


• A requirement that Kentucky's lethal injection team members "must remain certified in their profession and must fulfill any continuing education requirements in their profession."


• A requirement that Kentucky's lethal injection team conduct 10 practice sessions annually, "including during each session a complete walk through of the execution, regardless of whether an execution is scheduled."


A trial brief filed by the attorney general goes into detail about the DOC's lethal injection protocols, including the requirement that the superintendent of the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla ensure twice that no stays are in place for a defendant before he or she is executed, "once before the condemned is brought into the execution chamber and once immediately prior to the administration of sodium thiopental."


According to the AG's brief, Washington's lethal injection protocols also require:


• That the lethal injection team participate in "a minimum of three practice sessions preceding an execution that shall include the siting of intravenous lines."


• That a physician be present during an execution. The physician's function is solely to "pronounce death at the conclusion of the execution process." The physician does not assist in the siting of intravenous lines and is not present in the execution room when the execution takes place.


The AG's trial brief says: "The plaintiffs bear the burden of rebutting the presumption of constitutionality by presenting clear, objective evidence that lethal injection is cruel punishment." The AG also argues that the U.S. Supreme Court has already rejected claims that the three-drug lethal injection combination is unconstitutional.


In Washington, death row offenders have the option of death by lethal injection or by hanging. Washington has executed only two people by lethal injection - James Elledge on Aug. 28, 2001, and Jeremy Sagastegui on Oct. 13, 1998.


"Neither of those men appealed their death sentence or challenged Washington's lethal injection methods," says the brief by Stenson's attorneys.


Washington DOC spokeswoman Maria Peterson said two death row offenders in recent years have been executed by hanging - Wesley Alan Dodd in 1993 and Charles Rodman Campbell in 1994.


Although the lawsuit filed by Stenson's attorneys seeks only to create a policy for Washington's lethal injections that does not cause undue pain and suffering to the offender, a lawyer with the Washington attorney general's office who is representing the DOC in this suit thinks it has a larger goal.


"The state believes the purpose of this action is to prevent the executions from occurring," said Assistant Attorney General John Samson, who is trying the case with Assistant Attorney General Sara Olson.


Sherilyn Peterson, one of Stenson's attorneys, said the plaintiffs are not trying to delay the executions but only want "meaningful judicial review" of Washington's lethal injection procedures.


Peterson noted that after DOC's lethal injection team resigned in March in response to her client's suit, the state has made no efforts to reconstitute it.


Peterson said: "The state has no execution team. They all resigned and the state refuses to reconstitute the team until after this case is over. The Supreme Court and other courts reviewing the legality of state lethal injection procedures have identified the qualifications and competence of the lethal injection team as key to approving the process. The state's refusal to show that it is capable of assembling a qualified team is evidence that it cannot. We do not see how there can be any meaningful judicial review until the state reconstitutes its team."


Olson said that the volunteer members of the lethal injection team resigned because they did not want to lose their anonymity if their names were published as a result of the current death penalty litigation.


No executions are scheduled in Washington, Olson said.


"We are months, if not years, from an execution," she said.


Olson also said Peterson's claims that the state is unaware of the qualifications necessary for future lethal injection team members is inaccurate.


Olson said that of the men on death row named in the suit, Gentry has a pending federal habeas corpus hearing, and the other two plaintiffs have exhausted all of the state and federal appeals regarding their convictions and sentences.


There is a stay of execution entered in Clallam County that would prevent Stenson from being executed until additional DNA testing in his case is completed. Peterson said prosecutors in Clallam County now are trying to get that stay lifted.


The Washington Supreme Court has issued a stay of execution for Brown, pending the results of the litigation to be heard at trial in Olympia.


Attorneys and court employees in Thurston County said that no matter how Wickham rules at the end of this week's trial, the outcome almost certainly will be appealed all the way to the Washington Supreme Court.

http://www.theolympian.com/localnewsfeed/story/853989.html
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: 63Wildcat on May 18, 2009, 08:02:30 PM
Shit...
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Barbara on May 20, 2009, 05:47:12 PM
I say ditto to that!  More smoke and mirrors!  I am so tired of the Perps getting the best of "Us", all they have is time on their hands and can research all kinds of "stuff" from the "Law Library" they have full access to!

In Prison?  These guys have more at the tips of their fingers than most of us.....Get on with it Washington.  Do the jobs your constituents elected you to do, PROTECT US FROM THESE AH/ POS/ SCUMBAGS.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Jeff1857 on May 22, 2009, 03:09:29 PM
OLYMPIA -- Lethal-injection drugs administered by the state in carrying out capital-punishment sentences result in cruel and unusual punishment for the condemned, attorneys for three death-row inmates argued Thursday.

Two executions and the case of a third man on death row are on hold because of a civil suit challenging the state Department of Corrections' method of lethal injection. Defense attorneys said they are not arguing to save their clients' lives, only to change the type of heart-stopping medication given to the condemned and who administers them.

"This case is about suffocation and searing pain," said Seattle attorney Scott Englehard, who is representing death-row inmate Jonathan Gentry.

In their opening statements, the inmates' attorneys criticized the state's lethal-injection protocols for lacking supervision by state-licensed doctors and nurses and for insufficient training and medical expertise for the execution-team members.

Englehard honed in on the three-drug cocktail used by state execution staff, saying only one fatal drug should be used. That drug, sodium thiopental, is enough to end a life without the combination of the two other drugs, which often yield painful results, he said.

Assistant Attorney General Sara Olson countered by arguing that state protocols are in line with execution methods in Kentucky, whose system was upheld last year by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The suit is being argued before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham, who is expected to release a decision sometime after the four-day trial.

The case is a combined lawsuit on behalf of three death-row inmates: Darold Stenson, who killed his wife and business partner in Clallam County in 1993; Cal Coburn Brown, who tortured and killed a Burien woman in 1991; and Gentry, who killed a 12-year-old girl in Kitsap County in 1988.

Stenson was to have been executed Dec. 3, but his case was stayed pending the lawsuit. In March, Brown was spared hours before he was supposed to enter the death chamber because of the lethal-injection argument.

Stenson, who is spearheading the case, testified Thursday over a Web camera from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. In his testimony, Stenson focused on his health problems and how the veins in his arms are difficult to find. Stenson said he has diabetes and has to have blood drawn from his hands.

Washington mimics many states by using the three drugs in the death chamber. Sodium thiopental, the first drug, is a high-powered barbiturate used for anesthesia. The second drug, pancuronium bromide, paralyzes the muscles with a suffocating effect. The third, potassium chloride, stops the heart.

Englehard said the three grams of sodium thiopental given by executioners is enough to kill but takes longer to take effect without the other drugs. The defense attorneys told Wickham their concern with potassium chloride is that it can cause tremendous pain if the inmate is still conscious.



Concerns over the three-drug cocktail, as well as questions about executioners' medical training, has been heard in courtrooms across the country.

Stenson's defense attorney Sherilyn Peterson grilled Washington State Penitentiary Superintendent Stephen Sinclair on Thursday about the training of execution staff and his own medical training. Sinclair, who has worked in a number of prison positions over the past 20 years, testified that he determines if the inmate being executed is unconscious after the first drug is injected.

Last month, the four-member team responsible for administering lethal injections to death-row inmates at the Washington State Penitentiary resigned out of concern that their identities could become public as part of the Thurston County court case. Sinclair testified Thursday that he has identified several people who could be part of the state's execution team.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009249742_deathpenalty22m.html?syndication=rss
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: 63Wildcat on May 23, 2009, 01:42:36 AM
This will continue to get picked apart, and will take years to straighten out. Why not use 5 grams instead of 3.  ???
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News/Judge says lethal injection is legal
Post by: heidi salazar on July 11, 2009, 01:13:37 AM
Judge says execution by lethal injection is legal

By RACHEL LA CORTE, Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A judge has affirmed Washington state's procedures for executing prisoners by lethal injection, turning aside complaints that condemned inmates could be partially conscious when fatal drugs flow into their veins.

In a ruling released Friday, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham said that the inmates presented no evidence that the state "intended to impose punishment that was 'cruel."'

"The procedure to be used by defendants, although not fail-safe, appears to have been designed to administer the death penalty in a way that is humane for the inmate and the observers," Wickham wrote. "It is an attempt to provide some dignity to this most grave event."

The inmates are likely to appeal the ruling. A message left with one inmate's attorney Friday morning was not immediately returned.

The lawsuit, filed by three death-row inmates, argued that Washington's preferred method of execution needs a major overhaul to satisfy constitutional bans on cruel punishment.

The lawsuit did not seek to end the death penalty in Washington. Instead, the inmates' lawyers asked the state to trade its current mix of three intravenous drugs for a large dose of one powerful sedative - an approach that plaintiffs said would kill a condemned prisoner with virtually no risk of pain or suffering.

Attorneys for the state countered that Washington's lethal injection system passes constitutional tests because it is substantially similar to a Kentucky system upheld last year by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Washington, like roughly three dozen states, performs lethal injections by administering successive doses of three separate drugs. The chemicals are intended to render a condemned prisoner unconscious, then paralyze the person's body, and, finally, stop the inmate's heart.

The lawsuit, however, argued that Washington's lethal injection procedures are so sloppy and inconsistent that inmates might be partially conscious when fatal drugs flow into their veins. If that happened, the condemned person could be subjected to suffocation and excruciating pain.

The lawsuit alleged a long list of shortcomings in the state's lethal injection methods: No supervision by doctors or nurses, inadequate training and rehearsals for the execution team, and lack of medical qualifications for everyone involved.

At trial, lawyers for the state said the lawsuit essentially demanded "a perfect execution." But the state said prison officials were not required to prove that execution procedures would be followed in a flawless manner that eliminated all risk of pain.

Moreover, the similarities between Washington's policies and those of Kentucky - including the requirement of some medical training or experience for the execution team - are strong enough to prevent a substantial, intolerable risk of harm, the state said.

The state also rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the Washington Constitution offers a stronger protection against cruel punishment than the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment.

The case is a combined lawsuit on behalf of three death row inmates: Darold Stenson, who shot his wife and business partner in Clallam County; Cal Coburn Brown, who tortured and killed a Burien woman; and Jonathan Gentry, who killed a 12-year-old girl in Kitsap County.

Washington death row inmates may opt for hanging instead of lethal injection. The state's last execution was the lethal injection death of James Elledge in 2001.

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/50475187.html
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: 63Wildcat on July 11, 2009, 01:15:47 AM
They'll appeal of course... I'm patient.. they'll get it eventually.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Jeff1857 on July 11, 2009, 10:58:08 PM
This is good news!! I THINK with this dismissal by the judge execution dates may be set again. I'm not sure of the status of the execution team however.
Title: Should death penalty continue? Time to decide
Post by: heidi salazar on July 20, 2009, 03:18:46 PM
THE OLYMPIAN | • Published July 20, 2009

Three inmates on Washington's death row took another step closer to execution recently when Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham ruled that the state's lethal injection procedures are constitutional.

Attorneys for the three condemned inmates say they will appeal Judge Wickham's decision to the Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court, so Washington residents are not likely to see an execution anytime soon.


But heightened public awareness of these cases prompts a question: Isn't it time Washington residents be asked if they still support capital punishment? After all, it has been 34 years since Washington voters last had their say on this life-and-death issue.


On the November 1975 general election ballot was Initiative 316 which asked whether the death penalty should be mandatory for aggravated murder in the first degree. A resounding 69.1 percent of the voters said "yes" to capital punishment. The vote margin in Thurston County was 19,737 in support, 8,398 opposed.


Fewer than 1 million voters cast ballots in that election. Compare that with last year's presidential election when nearly 3 million votes were cast. Clearly, the state has millions of new residents who have not been asked their views on capital punishment. They deserve a say on such an important social and ethical issue.


OUT OF THE NEWS


The imposition of the death penalty has not been in the news in recent years in Washington state. Lethal injection is the prescribed method of death, but inmates may choose hanging. The last hanging was of Charles Campbell in May 1994. The state's last execution was the lethal injection death of James Elledge in 2001.


After that interest peaked in November 2003 when Gary Leon Ridgeway, the "Green River Killer," pleaded guilty to the murder of 48 women. He entered a plea in exchange for King County prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table. Ridgeway is serving life in prison without the possibility of release.


Victim rights advocates were sharply critical of prosecutors saying if ever there was a case warranting execution it was the case of the Green River Killer.


Defense attorneys representing clients in other murder cases with far fewer victims have pointed to the Ridgeway case and asked why their clients should be subjected to death when Ridgeway was not held to the same standard for 48 murders.


CLOSE TO DEATH


Capital punishment was back in the headlines in March of this year when the state Supreme Court intervened in the case of Cal Coburn Brown, who was within hours of execution. The court stayed Brown's execution based on a case brought by Darold Stenson, another death row inmate who challenged the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection procedures. Stenson's attorneys said the lack of training by staff and inadequate lethal injection safeguards constituted cruel and unusual punishment which is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.


It was the Stenson case that was before Judge Wickham. The outcome of the case affected both the case of Brown and a third murderer, Jonathan Gentry. Stenson shot his wife and business partner in Clallam County; Brown tortured and killed a Burien woman; and Gentry killed a 12-year-old girl in Kitsap County.


In his ruling, Judge Wickham said, inmates for the three men presented no evidence that the state "intended to impose punishment that was 'cruel.' " Wickham said the method of execution was constitutional under both the state and U.S. constitutions.


"The procedure to be used by defendants, although not fail-safe, appears to have been designed to administer the death penalty in a way that is humane for the inmate and the observers," Wickham wrote. "It is an attempt to provide some dignity to this most grave event."


While attorneys for the three murderers promised an appeal, Attorney General Rob McKenna moved forward to have Brown's stay of execution vacated.


"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims of these convicted murderers," McKenna said. "Today's decision clears a significant hurdle, and brings us one step closer to carrying out the penalties unanimously set by the juries in these cases. My office will now ask the courts to remove the final barriers between these convicts and their final justice."


While the courts continue to wrestle with the legal issues, it's time Washington residents be consulted on their views of capital punishment -- either through the citizen-driven initiative process or through a constitutional amendment proposed by the Legislature.


Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have joined Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Australia and others without a death penalty statute. Do Washington residents want to add this state to that list? It's time they were asked.

http://www.theolympian.com/opinion/story/915374.html
Title: Re: Should death penalty continue? Time to decide
Post by: JT on July 20, 2009, 06:22:08 PM
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have joined Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Australia and others without a death penalty statute.

The residents of those nations have never had a say in whether or not capital punishment should be retained.  Indeed, France is the only country in that list where polls do not suggest a majority of the people want the death penalty reinstated.  Britain, Canada and Australia all have large chunks of the population who wish to see murderers hanged.  Canada has not dropped anybody since 1962, Britain hasn't since 1964 (disregarding hangings conducted in the British Virgin Islands, which continued until 1988), and Australia hasn't since 1967.  When the death penalty was abolished in these nations, polls suggested that their respective governments were flagrantly disregarding public opinion.  The government of Washington State should not follow the example set by these nations.
Title: Bill proposes abolishing Washington death penalty
Post by: heidi salazar on January 23, 2010, 06:39:24 AM
Bill proposes abolishing Wash. death penalty

OLYMPIA, Wash. --

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would abolish Washington state's death penalty, though its own sponsors acknowledge it's a long shot.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on the measure Friday. Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, is sponsoring the bill and told the committee that the death penalty is ineffective, expensive, unequal and inhumane.

No opponents of the bill testified at the hearing.

"There's a debate that's not being heard here," said Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, the chairman of the committee who is a co-sponsor of the bill. Opponents "may have a case to be made, but they need to come make it."

It seems unlikely that the death penalty elimination would pass the Legislature this year. Kline said he realizes the bill does not have a strong chance to be passed this session, but it's an issue he will keep addressing.

"I'm not going to give up," Kline said. "We will get there, but it may not be in my lifetime."

Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, said after Friday's hearing that he would vote against the bill because he believes it is not what murder victims would want.

"This is not something that the people of my district would want me to be party to," he said.

Supporters of the bill focused their testimony on the state's current $2.6 billion budget deficit, and said money spent on death penalty cases far exceeds that which is spent on people sent to prison for life.

"Change is necessary to protect our communities, but we are in time of economic crisis," said Jeff Ellis, a former president of the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and a Seattle attorney who defends those on death row.

In 2006, the state Supreme Court narrowly rejected a constitutional challenge of the death penalty.

Eight men are on the state's death row.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010867657_apwaxgrdeathpenalty1stldwritethru.html?syndication=rss
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Moh on March 04, 2010, 05:27:54 AM
APNewsBreak: WA changes execution method
By RACHEL LA CORTE (AP) - 1 day ago
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington state has changed its method of execution from a three-drug cocktail to a one-drug system, according to paperwork filed Tuesday with the state Supreme Court.
The filing by state Attorney General Rob McKenna reveals that the state made the decision last Thursday. It wants the high court to dismiss portions of the appeal of death-row inmate Darold Stenson, arguing that a challenge of the drug protocol's constitutionality is now moot.
The state Department of Corrections is in the process of rewriting the execution policy that will make Washington the second state in the nation to use the one-drug method.
Ohio switched in January after the botched execution of Romell Broom that was halted by Gov. Ted Strickland in September. Executioners unsuccessfully tried for hours to find a usable vein for injection, and Broom has appealed the state's attempt to try again.
Ohio has executed three men under the new method.
The three-drug method uses sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. Only sodium thiopental, followed by a saline flush, is used in the one-drug policy. Under the amended policy in Washington state, an additional 5 grams of sodium thiopental will be made available at the time of execution in case the first dose does not kill the inmate.
The motion filed with the court Tuesday said the decision to amend the protocol was made in light of both Ohio's use of the method and "the opinions of experts who have advised the Department."
The new policy will change the presumed method for lethal injection to the one-drug protocol, but the three-drug injection method will be allowed for inmates who request it.
"The Department maintains that the three drug protocol is constitutional," the motion reads.
Stenson, who shot his wife and business partner in Clallam County, is one of three death-row inmates suing Washington state, arguing that its preferred method of execution needed a major overhaul to satisfy constitutional bans on cruel punishment.
Also suing are Jonathan Gentry, who killed a 12-year-old girl in Kitsap County, and Cal Coburn Brown, who tortured and killed a Burien woman.
Last March, the state Supreme Court stayed the execution of Brown just hours before he was set to die. McKenna filed for a lift of that stay after a Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled last July that the state's lethal injection procedures were constitutional.
The stay will remain in place while the appeal process continues.
In prior filings, the state argued that Washington's three-drug lethal injection system passed constitutional tests because it was substantially similar to a Kentucky system upheld in 2008 by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Before deciding to switch to the one-drug method, Washington, like roughly three dozen states, had performed lethal injections by administering successive doses of three separate drugs. The chemicals are intended to render a condemned prisoner unconscious, then paralyze the body, and, finally, stop the heart.
Washington death-row inmates may opt for hanging instead of lethal injection. The last hanging was of Charles Campbell in May 1994. The state's last execution was the lethal injection death of James Elledge in 2001.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j69zEbN4JUxthH4R--Vty0eZyPQQD9E6QQ1O1
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: 63Wildcat on March 04, 2010, 09:27:24 AM
Now if they'll just use it... which I highly doubt.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: heidi salazar on March 18, 2010, 11:38:38 AM
WA Supreme Court to hear death penalty debate

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the state's execution process.


OLYMPIA, Wash. --

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the state's execution process.

Thursday morning, the high court will hear debate on whether one aspect of a lawsuit filed by a death row inmate who is challenging the constitutionality of death penalty procedures is now moot because of a recent change made by the state Department of Corrections.

Earlier this month, the state revealed that it was changing its method of execution from a three-drug cocktail to a one-drug system.

The court will also consider whether the department has the authority to draft execution policy and whether lethal injection violates federal laws because a doctor doesn't obtain or administer the drugs.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011373880_apwascowdeathpenalty.html?syndication=rss
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: 63Wildcat on March 19, 2010, 02:08:15 AM
This will take another 10 years.  :-\
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Rick4404 on March 19, 2010, 02:52:37 AM
At least, Washington State has a fallback. Hanging. I assume if Washington State's lethal injection protocol were ever to be held unconstitutional, they could still execute their death row inmates by hanging instead.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: 63Wildcat on March 20, 2010, 01:12:04 AM

At least, Washington State has a fallback. Hanging. I assume if Washington State's lethal injection protocol were ever to be held unconstitutional, they could still execute their death row inmates by hanging instead.


IF they ever get them to the death chamber.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Jeff1857 on July 29, 2010, 04:11:33 PM
The Washington Supreme Court Upheld the protocol for the 1 drug cocktail in Washington in today's Orders/Opinions. They did not lift the stays due to not in their jurisdiction  (Other courts entered the stays).

Opinion is here:

http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/index.cfm?fa=opinions.showOpinion&filename=834741MAJ
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: 63Wildcat on August 01, 2010, 12:12:30 AM
So I guess I'm still out of a job as hangman .. bummer..
Title: Re: 4 Members of Washington's Execution Team Resign
Post by: Suzi on January 12, 2011, 07:31:55 PM


How about Washington just bring back the drop?  I'm sure you don't need any medical qualifications to be a hangman.


In Wash., we still have the rope (  http://www.doc.wa.gov/offenderinfo/capitalpunishment/  )  it's just that most DP recipiants elect for lethal injection. They get to choose their method of execution, unlike their victims.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: JTiscool on January 12, 2011, 07:59:46 PM
Correct. Washington is among the few states that still use Hanging as a method. Other states that do that are New Hampshire and Delaware. There could be another state I'm forgetting.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: leopard32 on January 12, 2011, 08:06:06 PM
Prior to 1986, the method of execution in Delaware was hanging. Bill Bailey was the last inmate hanged in Delaware. His hanging took place on January 25, 1996. Prior to that, the last hanging in Delaware took place in 1946. In June 1986, the Delaware General Assembly enacted legislation that required lethal injection be the method of execution in Delaware. The law also stipulated that persons sentenced to death prior to the enactment of the law be given the choice of choosing their method of execution.   However there are no current inmates sentenced before 1986 so in fact only lethal injection remains in Delaware.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: JTiscool on January 12, 2011, 08:10:00 PM
Oh...right I forgot about that part  ???
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Suzi on January 12, 2011, 08:30:15 PM
Interesting.  Your posts made me curious, so I looked it up.  NH & WA are indeed the only 2 states who still use hanging as a MOE.
Not only that, Oklahoma & Idaho still offer the firing squad!  Oklahoma is the only state offering 3 different MOEs: lethal inj., the chair, or the above-mentioned firing squad.
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004916.html

I seem to remember a death-row inmate here in Wash. who got really fat in prison, selected hanging over LI, and then filed a complaint saying that hanging would be cruel and unusual punishment, because of his weight.  I think that was Wesley Allan Dodd (but I could be wrong about that.)
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: leopard32 on January 13, 2011, 02:27:07 PM
In fact it was Mitchell Roupe, who is no longer on death row, having died of liver disease on February 8, 2006. He weighed over 425 lbs so hanging him could well have resulted in decapitation.

Westly Allan Dodd was hanged.
Have a look at http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/hanging.html (http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/hanging.html) on my website for more details.
Richard
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Suzi on January 13, 2011, 08:29:38 PM
Oh, that's right!  It's all coming back to me now.  Not sure why I thought of W.A.D. (boy, that guy was horrible!)
I remember thinking, well, why don't they just use lethal injection if hanging would be such a problem, but I guess that's why Roupe selected hanging: so it would turn into an issue.  I guess it's a moot point now.

Wow!  Extemely detailed and informative site, Richard!  I don't think I've come across it before.  Thanks for posting it.  I'm going to go read it some more now. :)
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: leopard32 on January 14, 2011, 12:47:03 PM
Westly Allan Dodd was indeed horrible.  I have quite a lot of extracts from his diaries - absolutely chilling.  I also have a detailed autopsy report on both him and Charles Campbell.  Should anybody wish to read these send me a PM and I will make them available.



Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: 63Wildcat on January 14, 2011, 04:26:38 PM
When I was at the Army Sergeants Major Academy I did a paper on Military Executions. I used Leopard's site as a reference a couple of times. I was told that the entire paper and presentation (Power Point, Noose that was passed around, and a classmate in full restraints) was "Morbid." I didn't think so. Everyone wanted to do theirs on all the nice stuff... awards, ribbons, etc...  :-\

It is indeed a great site and full of information!!
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Suzi on January 14, 2011, 08:49:48 PM
That's so funny that you say that, Wildcat!  I did a paper in college titled, something to the effect of 'Reinstatement of the Death Penalty in the United States: A Statistical Overview.'  The point wasn't the subject chosen, but figuring, working with, and presenting statistics.  I chose DP because it's so statistic-rich (by state, by age, by race, by year, etc.).  I limited it to from it's reinstatement in '76 on, otherwise it would be too much info to work with.  We then had to present our papers to the class.  My classmates, too, thought my topic was morbid.  I thought it was facinating.
I got an A.  :)
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: JTiscool on January 14, 2011, 08:51:18 PM
The only reason why people would call it morbid is because they want to ignore reality and go to their fantasy worlds.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: AnneTheBelgian on August 15, 2011, 02:52:26 PM
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015911448_deathpenalty15m.html

Monday, August 15, 2011

Originally published Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 10:01 PM

King County's death-penalty dilemma: Soaring cost worth it?

King County is struggling with the rising cost of criminal justice. But while budget constraints have forced some counties to all but abandon death-penalty cases, King County currently has two active capital cases, which have racked up more than $4 million in defense costs alone.

By Jennifer Sullivan

Seattle Times staff reporter

The cost of prosecuting two men and a woman accused of two of the most heinous crimes in King County in recent years is $656,564 and counting.

The cost of defending them is even higher: $4.3 million, and also climbing.

Like other counties in the state, King County is struggling with the rising cost of criminal justice, which has forced Prosecutor Dan Satterberg to eliminate the jobs of 36 prosecutors since 2008. But while budget constraints have forced some counties to all but abandon death-penalty cases, King County currently has two active capital cases.

A third, last year's prosecution of Conner Schierman for killing a Kirkland family of four in 2006, has thus far cost the county $2.4 million.

The county's current death-penalty cases include the prosecution of Christopher Monfort, who is accused of ambushing two Seattle police officers, killing one, on Halloween night 2009. Two other defendants, Michele Anderson and Joseph McEnroe, could also face execution if convicted of the slayings of six members of Anderson's family on Christmas Eve 2007.

While trials for the three defendants are months off, defense lawyers are racking up costs for expert witnesses, investigators, forensic analysis and other elements crucial for death-penalty trials. In the meantime, prosecutors, police officers and crime-lab analysts are also tallying up costs while prepping for the trials.

Portland-based defense attorney Jeff Ellis, who handles death-penalty cases across the country, said the high costs of prosecuting death-penalty cases -- which can also include years of appeals -- has resulted in a drop in death-penalty cases. King County, with two cases, is an anomaly, he said.

"There is a downturn in the number of death-penalty sentences being sought and imposed because of the costs associated with them," Ellis said. "What's happening now [in King County] is a reverse of what's happening nationwide."

In 2010, there were 46 executions in the U.S., including one in Washington state -- a 50 percent drop since 1999, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Satterberg defends the county's filing of death-penalty cases despite the high cost. He blames much of the increased costs on what he calls an "industry" that has been created by death-penalty attorneys.

"It is the law of our state and a punishment we reserve for the worst of the worst offenders," he said of the death penalty. "If people want to change the policy they should do so through their elected representatives. It shouldn't be done by defense attorneys running up the bill."

The most recent study of state death-penalty costs indicated that a death-penalty case generates roughly $470,000 more in costs at the trial level than a murder case in which the death penalty is not sought -- plus an additional $70,000 or so in court costs, a figure that includes courtroom personnel. The same study, released by the Washington State Bar Association in 2006, found that more than $200,000 on average is spent on appeal costs.

The total cost of prosecuting and defending Schierman, 29, who was condemned to death last year for killing four members of a Kirkland family in July 2006, will likely rise much higher than the current $2.4 million. Now that his case is on appeal, it's unclear how much more will be spent on legal costs and how long he will be on death row.

Cal Coburn Brown, another King County defendant, was put to death last September for the May 1991 rape and murder of Holly Washa, 21, in a SeaTac motel. His execution came more than 16 years after his conviction.

The seven men remaining on Washington's death row have been there an average of 12 years and four months, according to the state Attorney General's Office.

V. David Hocraffer, who heads King County's Office of Public Defense, agrees defending people who face execution is expensive, but he believes he has a solution.

"Financially, if the goal is public safety you could save money by not having the death penalty on the table. There are places where the counties just don't have the funds," said Hocraffer.

King County's Office of Public Defense funds legal services for people determined to be indigent, as well as other work performed by the county's four public-defense firms. Hocraffer's budget comes from King County's general fund.

In nearly all death-penalty cases tried in Washington, the defendant has been determined to be indigent and has been assigned a publicly funded legal team.

Hocraffer said he never budgets for a death-penalty case, so at times he goes to the Metropolitan King County Council for supplemental funding.

Ellis said that capital-punishment defense work is growing in cost because "lawyers are spending more time to prepare." He said that many jurors want to know everything about the defendant's life and have become savvy when it comes to technology, forensics and evidence.

"There are investigative and expert costs; jurors want to know more about forensics and the human mind, what influences it and what causes a person to do certain things," Ellis said. "Those are really expensive propositions."

Since 2007, King County has applied annually for assistance under the state's Extraordinary Criminal Justice Costs Act, which is administered by the state Office of Public Defense and is designed to help counties defray the costs of defending capital-murder cases. In 2008, the county received $286,000, said Hocraffer.

Satterberg said he has seen a sharp growth in defense costs in capital cases, including hiring expert witnesses, evidence research and investigations.

"There's an industry that has cropped up around it. It just seems that there's an acceptance that if it's a capital case it's going to take two additional years to get to trial. It leads me to the observation that the opponents of the death penalty are often in charge of running up the costs and delaying the cases," Satterberg said.

While Satterberg has cut costs in his office through layoffs and by freezing positions, he says he will not back down from pursuing the death penalty in the most egregious cases.

Since the arrests and charges of Anderson and McEnroe in connection with the slayings of three generations of Anderson's family in Carnation on Christmas Eve 2007, public defenders have spent about $1.7 million on defense costs for Anderson and about $1.5 million on the defense of McEnroe.

The former couple, who are each charged with six counts of aggravated murder, are expected to face a jury next year.

Since Monfort's arrest Nov. 6, 2009, public defenders have spent more than $1.1 million preparing his case for trial. Monfort is charged with aggravated murder for allegedly killing Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton, and with attempted first-degree murder in the wounding of Officer Britt Sweeney on Oct. 31, 2009. A trial date has not been set.

Dan Donohoe, spokesman for Satterberg, said that the Prosecutor's Office has spent more than $470,000 on the Carnation case and less than $200,000 on the Monfort case, figures that include salaries for prosecutors.

The prosecution's expenses include hours logged by the senior deputy prosecutors trying the case, a paralegal and the cost of expert witnesses. It does not include costs incurred by police departments or the state crime lab.













Anne
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Rick4404 on August 16, 2011, 01:47:14 PM

Interesting.  Your posts made me curious, so I looked it up.  NH & WA are indeed the only 2 states who still use hanging as a MOE.
Not only that, Oklahoma & Idaho still offer the firing squad!  Oklahoma is the only state offering 3 different MOEs: lethal inj., the chair, or the above-mentioned firing squad.
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004916.html

I seem to remember a death-row inmate here in Wash. who got really fat in prison, selected hanging over LI, and then filed a complaint saying that hanging would be cruel and unusual punishment, because of his weight.  I think that was Wesley Allan Dodd (but I could be wrong about that.)

To clarify. Washington State allows its condemned prisoners to choose between execution by hanging or execution by lethal injection. If the prisoner fails to choose, I believe lethal injection is the default method.

New Hampshire provides for lethal injection to be the sole method, but will allow hanging if lethal injection "is impractical" in a particular situation. The law doesn't clarify the word "impractical."  No matter, because New Hampshire has no working execution chamber in its corrections system and no one on death row in the state.

I thought that Idaho had removed the firing squad and left lethal injection as the sole method of execution a number of years ago.  When both were in play, the statute left which method of execution to use at the sole discretion of the commissioner of corrections.  Oklahoma will allow for a firing squad if both lethal injection and use of the electric chair were both declared unconstitutional by either Oklahoma's highest court or the U.S. Supreme Court.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: JTiscool on August 17, 2011, 04:29:18 PM
What happened to the cop killer on New Hampsire's death row? I was sure NH had someone sentenced to death. ???
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: Rick4404 on August 17, 2011, 10:34:31 PM

What happened to the cop killer on New Hampsire's death row? I was sure NH had someone sentenced to death. ???

Michael "Stix" Kiser Addison is currently the only inamte in New Hampshire presently under a sentence of death. He was convicted of capital murder for shooting an on-duty police officer on October 16, 2006.  He was convicted and sentenced in  December of 2008. This means he still has plenty of avenues of appeals left to him, so it will likely be at least 10-15 more years before he even comes close to an execution date. New Hampshire has no working execution chamber. Since 1868, executions have taken place at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord. Hanging is the method of execution historically used in the state. Lethal Injection is currently the primary legal form of execution, though hanging can be utilized if lethal injection is determined to be "impractical to carry out the punishment of death." Capital murder is the only crime for which the death penalty can be imposed in the state. Since 1734, twenty-four people have been executed, with the last execution carried out in 1939.

Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: JTiscool on August 18, 2011, 03:20:20 AM


What happened to the cop killer on New Hampsire's death row? I was sure NH had someone sentenced to death. ???

Michael "Stix" Kiser Addison is currently the only inamte in New Hampshire presently under a sentence of death. He was convicted of capital murder for shooting an on-duty police officer on October 16, 2006.  He was convicted and sentenced in  December of 2008. This means he still has plenty of avenues of appeals left to him, so it will likely be at least 10-15 more years before he even comes close to an execution date. New Hampshire has no working execution chamber. Since 1868, executions have taken place at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord. Hanging is the method of execution historically used in the state. Lethal Injection is currently the primary legal form of execution, though hanging can be utilized if lethal injection is determined to be "impractical to carry out the punishment of death." Capital murder is the only crime for which the death penalty can be imposed in the state. Since 1734, twenty-four people have been executed, with the last execution carried out in 1939.


Alright. Thanks for the clarification  :)

Does N.H. have a decent track record at going through with death sentences? (prior to Kiser of course).
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: turboprinz on May 20, 2013, 04:03:36 PM
Byron Scherf gets death penalty for corrections officer murder
May 15, 2013

A judge has sentenced convicted rapist and murderer Byron Scherf to death after a jury ruled him eligible Wednesday morning.

Scherf admitted to strangling corrections officer Jayme Biendl in the Chapel of the Monroe Correctional Complex in January 2011.

"I've been waiting 137 days exactly to hear those words that he's got the death penalty," Biendl's sister, Lisa Hamm, told reporters outside the Everett courtroom. "I'm going to continue to count until he's finally dead."

"It's been terrible, you can't sleep, you got nightmares," said Biendl's father, James Hamm. "It's over with and I'm glad."

Scherf has refused to explain what Biendl said to him to set him off, but said it was the final straw "of years and years of crap."

The former prison superintendent had described the new restrictions Scherf would endure if the jury gave him life in prison.

The defense argued that security failures at the Monroe prison that led to discipline and several firings, might have contributed to the murder of Biendl in January 2011.

A judge will make a final ruling at 1 p.m.

It's the first death sentence recommended since April, 2010. Connor Michael Schierman was convicted of four counts of aggravated first degree murder for the deaths of Olga Milkin, her two sons, and sister.

A jury handed down a death sentence in June 2012, but it was a reissued conviction for the rape and murder of 43-year-old Geneine Harshfield. Allen Eugene Gregory was first convicted in May 2001, but the case was overturned five years later.

http://mynorthwest.com/11/2274811/Jury-reaches-a-verdict-in-the-Byron-Scherf-murder-trial
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: JTiscool on May 20, 2013, 04:14:53 PM
they need to start carrying out the sentences asap.
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: turboprinz on January 25, 2014, 02:40:40 PM
Death row inmate loses another appeal
As of Friday, January 24, 2014

WALLA WALLA -- The state's longest-serving death row inmate has lost his latest court appeal.

#The Washington Supreme Court Thursday rejected a petition by Jonathan Lee Gentry to overturn his conviction.

#Gentry, 58, has been on death row at Washington State Penitentiary since 1991 after being convicted of killing a 12-year-old girl in Bremerton.

#His latest appeal argued that a 2011 decision by the state Supreme Court should be applied to his case. That decision, State v. Monday, ruled that when a party shows prosecutorial misconduct based on racial bias, it is the state's burden to show "harmlessness beyond a reasonable doubt."

#In his appeal, Gentry claimed the prosecution engaged in race-based misconduct in five instances during his trial that tainted his conviction. Gentry is black.

#The court, however, ruled that the 2011 decision could not be retroactively applied to his 20-year-old case. Furthermore, even if Gentry's claims were not procedurally barred, the court ruled they would still fail because he could not demonstrate prejudice that would merit an appeal.

#"The one clear instance of race-based improper conduct on the part of the prosecution occurred outside the knowledge of the jury and could not have affected the outcome at trial," the court said in its majority opinion.

#Justice Charles Wiggins issued a partial dissent in the case.

#Janelle Guthrie, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, said Gentry's stay of execution issued by the court will remain in effect until at least Feb. 12 unless a motion for reconsideration is filed.

#A separate stay of execution in federal court has also not been officially vacated.

#Gentry is one of nine people, all men, sentenced to die in Washington. All are held at the penitentiary, where executions are carried out.

#The last execution in the state was Cal Coburn Brown, who was put to death by lethal injection in 2010 for the murder of 22-year old Holly Washa in Seatac.

http://union-bulletin.com/news/2014/jan/24/death-row-inmate-loses-another-appeal/
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: turboprinz on February 12, 2014, 06:57:31 AM
Executions Are Suspended by Governor in Washington
FEB. 11, 2014

The governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, announced Tuesday that no executions would take place in the state while he remained in office, despite the fact that the death penalty was legal there.

Citing "problems that exist in our capital punishment system," Mr. Inslee, a Democrat, said he would issue a reprieve in any death penalty case that crossed his desk, though he would not let any death row prisoners go free. A future governor could reverse this action, he noted, and order an execution to be carried out.

The move makes Washington the latest in a series of states to step away from capital punishment and makes Mr. Inslee the third Democratic governor in recent years to say something similar. Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon announced in 2011 that he would not permit any executions on his watch, and last year Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado issued an indefinite reprieve in the only death penalty case during his tenure.

The death penalty is legal in a majority of states, although 18 states have outlawed it, including six that have done so in the last six years. For governors who oppose the death penalty, refusing to order executions may be an easier way to make a point than to try to reverse a law.

"There are too many flaws in the system," Mr. Inslee said on Tuesday. He noted that since the state's current capital punishment laws were enacted in 1981, more than half of the 32 death sentences imposed in Washington had been overturned. "And when the ultimate decision is death, there is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system."

He added, "With my action today, I expect Washington State will join a growing national conversation about capital punishment."

Nationwide, both death sentences and executions are down more than 60 percent from peaks in the 1990s, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit clearinghouse in Washington, D.C. Questions about lethal injection methods have delayed executions in several states recently. Two methods of execution are legal in Washington: lethal injection and hanging.

Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said that both the dwindling number of executions and the actions by individual states and governors signaled a shift.

"The fact that governors can now stand up and say these things, when they used to get pilloried, is a sign of the changing views on the death penalty," Mr. Dieter said.

Nine men are on death row in Washington, though the state has executed only one inmate since 2001. Recently a federal court lifted a stay on the execution of Jonathan Lee Gentry, who is on death row for a 1988 murder.

Jay Rodne, the ranking Republican on the Washington House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee, criticized Mr. Inslee's announcement, saying that it came "out of the blue" and that the governor was taking into his own hands a matter that should be left to lawmakers.

"If there is support for abolition of the death penalty in Washington, then let's have hearings and let's have a vote," Mr. Rodne said.

"I think this is cruel to families of the victims," he added. "Justice should not be, basically, put on hiatus."

Though Mr. Inslee had previously supported the death penalty, he said, "My responsibilities as governor have led me to re-evaluate that position." He mentioned the costs that taxpayers incurred in death penalty cases, which can wind through the court system for decades.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/us/washington-governor-jay-inslee-suspends-death-penalty.html?hpw&rref=us
Title: Re: Washington Death Penalty News
Post by: turboprinz on April 04, 2015, 07:21:47 AM
Court upholds death penalty for rapist Clark Elmore
April 3, 2015

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the death penalty for Clark Elmore, who confessed to raping and murdering his 14-year-old stepdaughter 20 years ago.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the death sentence for Clark Richard Elmore, convicted of raping and murdering his 14-year-old stepdaughter in Bellingham in 1995.

The unanimous ruling by the three-member panel rejected several avenues of appeal sought by Elmore, and affirmed a lower-court decision upholding his death sentence. Elmore, 63, is the second-longest serving inmate on Washington's death row.

From a practical point of view, the opinion does not move Elmore closer to execution since Gov. Jay Inslee declared a moratorium on the death penalty while he's in office. However, that moratorium involves the state's implementation of the penalty, not its legality, and Inslee has said the penalty remains in place.

Nor does the state's moratorium impact the federal appeals process, and the ruling handed down Wednesday upheld the dismissal of Elmore's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and due-process.

Elmore claimed his trial was prejudicial because the jury was allowed to see him shackled; he said his attorney made mistakes by having him plead guilty and by not pursuing a brain-injury defense. The federal judges said the state's Supreme Court was correct in rejecting those claims as well.

A request for comment from Elmore's appeals attorney, Robert Gombiner, was not immediately responded to. It was not clear whether Elmore will seek a rehearing or ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 9th Circuit's opinion.

A telephone call to the state Attorney General's Office was not immediately returned.

Elmore, of Bellingham, was convicted July 6, 1995, of one count of aggravated first degree murder and one count of rape in the second degree for the rape and murder of Christy Ohnstad, 14.

Ohnstad, a Fairhaven Middle School student, was the daughter of Elmore's live-in girlfriend at the time of her death on April 17, 1995.

In a graphic taped confession, Elmore said the girl had threatened to tell on him for molesting her when she was younger. Elmore picked her up at school that day, took her to a secluded area, and then raped and strangled her.

He then played the grieving stepfather. Within days of her disappearance, Elmore helped organize a search party for her and publicly criticized the police for not doing enough to find her. A Whatcom County Sheriff's search party eventually found Ohnstad's body near the south end of Lake Samish.

Elmore fled to Oregon, but turned himself in to Bellingham police within two days and confessed to raping and killing Ohnstad.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/court-upholds-death-penalty-for-rapist-clark-elmore/