Idaho Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, February 10, 2008, 06:23:37 AM

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February 10, 2008, 06:23:37 AM Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 05:18:36 AM by Jeff1857
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The state of Idaho is arguing that a jury's finding of aggravating circumstances in a death penalty case meets a U.S. Supreme Court standard that juries must decide capital cases.

Arguing before the Idaho Supreme Court on Friday, deputy attorney general LaMont Anderson said that the jury in Darrell Payne's 2002 trial found the same aggravating circumstance needed for the death penalty as did Fourth District Judge Thomas Neville when he sentenced Payne to death.

Neville later set aside Payne's death sentence to comply with the Supreme Court's 2002 ruling.

Payne was convicted of the July 2000 rape and murder of Samantha Maher of Boise.

His defense lawyer, Paula Swenson of Idaho's public defender's office, told the justices that members of the jury weren't "death qualified" because they weren't questioned during jury selection about their feelings on the death penalty.

She says jury members also did not weigh mitigation evidence which might have persuaded them to spare Payne's life. That is now required under Idaho law.


This will effect Erick's case also.  I know his defense attorney brought up the Payne case at least a few times during Erick's second trial.


You would have to figure that Tracie. Once something is filed and it has worked or may work to their advantage the flood gates open.


February 21, 2008, 11:42:13 AM Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 05:21:11 AM by Jeff1857
BOISE, Idaho -- Idaho prosecutors want lawmakers to give them an extra 60 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty in capital cases, a move opposed by one of the state's top public defenders.

The prosecutors say the proposed change, from 30 days after the defendant enters a plea to 90 days, would give both the prosecution and defense more of a chance to investigate the defendant's personal history, which must be taken into account in a death penalty decision.

"This is especially helpful in a case with a close call," Heather Reilly, of the Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association, told lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee at a Monday hearing. "Once we can believe beyond a reasonable doubt that we can prove the homicide, the focus shifts to ... the aggravating and mitigating factors. That takes the investigation in another direction."

In 2003, prompted by recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings, the Idaho Legislature gave juries the responsibility of determining whether a person convicted of first-degree murder should receive the death penalty in cases where the prosecution was seeking it. Previously, judges held that role.

The change meant that some prosecutors began basing their decisions on whether to seek the death penalty in part on how they thought a jury would view mitigating circumstances, such as abuse the defendant might have suffered as a child or mental health problems.

Reilly told lawmakers that 30 days is not enough time to collect all the necessary documents, like medical records and mental health evaluations, to make an informed decision. She said that means that prosecutors would rather not seek the death penalty in borderline cases than risk having to withdraw a request later.

Molly Huskey, the state appellate public defender, told lawmakers that she doesn't see how the change would benefit defendants. She also predicted negative consequences, like an increased cost to counties for murder trials, more complex legal questions during the appeals process and an interference with the right to a speedy trial.

The 90 days would constitute half of the 180 days that is considered a speedy trial under the law.

"What it does is just keep (defense lawyers) on pins and needles for 90 days," she said.

During the hearing, lawmakers questioned Reilly about whether an extension was necessary.

"Why 90? Why not 60?" asked Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls. "What does 60 days get you that 30 days doesn't? Or what does 90 days get you that 60 days doesn't?"

Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, said he wasn't sure the extra time was needed since prosecutors appear to have the upper hand anyway, even with only 30 days.

"You're still in the driver's seat," he said. "I guess I just don't see how this puts you at a disadvantage."

The committee voted to send the bill to the Senate floor despite general opposition to the measure as written.

Davis said amendments would be considered by the full Senate. One possible change includes giving judges the right to grant an extension to the deadline if both the prosecution and defense agree.


BOISE, Idaho -- The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the Idaho Supreme Court to give further consideration to five death row cases.

The orders came Monday after the nation's highest court said in a separate case that states may apply its rulings to old cases.

The Idaho Supreme Court is now expected to consider whether to retroactively apply a law that says juries, not judges, must determine whether a defendant is eligible for the death penalty to the cases of death row inmates Paul Ezra Rhoades, Randall Lynn McKinney, Gerald Ross Pizzuto, David Leslie Card and James Harvey Hairston. The U.S. Supreme Court considered those cases because the defendants all had petitions pending before it on other matters when it made the retroactivity ruling.

The orders from the high court don't mean that the state courts committed any sort of error in the five cases, said Idaho Deputy Attorney General LaMont Anderson. They simply mean the state court has to consider the possibility of making the jury death sentencing provision retroactive.

Idaho's Legislature hasn't created any kind of retroactivity rule, and so simply uses the federal rule, Anderson said. The U.S. Supreme Court has already said that the federal government can't apply the jury death sentencing rule retroactively, and the recent ruling doesn't mean that states have to retroactively apply the rule, just that they can if they choose to.

If the Idaho Supreme Court asks for arguments in the matter, Anderson said the state will contend that because the state already uses the federal retroactivity rule, it would be inappropriate to go beyond that now.

Card, a former janitor, was convicted for the 1988 murders of Eugene and Shirley Morey, who were shot to death while they sat in their car at a Nampa convenience store, folding papers for delivery.

Hairston was convicted in 1996 for the shooting deaths of William "Duke" and Dalma Fuhriman at their rural Downey farmhouse during a robbery.

McKinney was sentenced to die for the 1981 shooting death of Pocatello resident Robert Bishop Jr. Bishop's body was found abandoned in a gravel pit northeast of Arco.

Pizzuto was sent to death row in 1986 for the beating deaths of Berta Herndon and her nephew Del Dean Herndon while they were prospecting in Ruby Meadows, about 26 miles north of McCall.

And Rhoades was given two death sentences in 1988 for the murder of Idaho Falls teacher Susan Michelbacher, who was shot multiple times and raped. Just two months later Rhoades received two more death sentences for first-degree murder and kidnapping in the shooting death of Stacy Dawn Baldwin, a Blackfoot convenience store clerk. He was also sentenced to life without possibility of parole in the 1987 shooting in Idaho Falls of convenience store clerk Nolan Haddon.


Convicted killer Darrell Payne's death sentence is now in question after the Idaho Supreme Court sent the case back to District Court Wednesday for a new sentencing hearing.

Payne has been on Idaho's Death Row since 2002, when 4th District Judge Thomas Neville sentenced him to death for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Boise State student Samantha Maher, who was abducted off the Greenbelt on her way to class in July 2000.

Payne, who terrorized Boise that summer when he sexually assaulted two 14-year-old girls in Barber Park and raped a Boise woman in the weeks before he murdered Maher, filed several appeals to his death sentence.

While most of those appeals were dismissed, the Supreme Court did determine that the victim impact statements made by Maher's family and friends to Neville in the sentencing phase of Payne's original trial were unconstitutional because those witnesses commented on Payne's personal characteristics and made specific sentencing recommendations, according to a 39-page opinion issued by the Supreme Court Wednesday.

The court also said the victim impact statements should have been limited to Maher's immediate family.

Paul Blomberg, Samantha Maher's father, said Wednesday he and his family had not had time to read and digest the entire opinion so he wasn't sure how they felt about the new sentencing hearing.

Blomberg said the family will put their confidence in the court and do what they need to do in the second sentencing hearing, no matter how painful it will be.

"We want to move on with our lives, and we can't do that until this is over," Blomberg said Wednesday. "We are not looking forward to going back through it. The (death) sentence was a fair sentence. But if we have to go forward, we will go forward. Darrell Payne must pay for what he did."

The court appeared to side with the Idaho attorney general's office on a key point - that the way the death sentence was handed down was valid. It is unclear whether the resentencing will occur in front of a new jury or before a judge.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2002 required juries, not judges, to find the aggravating evidence needed to sentence someone to death. Idaho's law reflects that now, but at the time of Payne's sentencing, Idaho's death penalty law left the decision to judges.

The Idaho Supreme Court seems to agree with Deputy Attorney General LaMont Anderson's argument that while Neville may have sentenced Payne to death in 2002, the jury in the case also found the same aggravating circumstance needed for the death penalty when they determined that Payne killed Maher while committing rape and kidnapping.

That might not satisfy Idaho's current death penalty law, but it meets the U.S. Supreme Court standard set in 2002, Anderson said.

Even if the Idaho Supreme Court thinks it would be constitutionally permissible for Payne to be resentenced by a judge, that would be unprecedented under the new law, Anderson said Wednesday.

Anderson said he believes a new jury will have be called if, as is expected, Ada County prosecutors want the death penalty reinstated for Payne.

The AG's office has 14 days to ask the Idaho Supreme Court for a reconsideration or a clarification of its opinion.

Granny B

Twist and turn, snake and seek new ways to wriggle out of the death sentence they so freely give to their victims.  It's disgusting!! :D
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy


BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho Supreme Court has denied requests from six death row inmates who said they were entitled to new trials because a U.S. Supreme Court ruling made after their convictions called on juries, not judges, to impose the death penalty.

All the inmates argued that the state violated their Sixth Amendment rights because they were sentenced to death by a judge instead of by a jury, as required under a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

But in a unanimous ruling handed down Friday, the Idaho Supreme Court noted that their cases were all appealed and the judgments made final before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling was issued - and the Idaho justices said the 2002 ruling can't be retroactively applied to the Idaho inmates' cases.


Twist and turn, snake and seek new ways to wriggle out of the death sentence they so freely give to their victims.  It's disgusting!!

If you mean the crime I agree. 

The wiggling part is how the system is supposed to work.   I wouldn't want my lawyer to tell me to suck it up and take my punishment.  I can do it myself and save a ton of money.  I want my lawyer to be the most creative snake on earth. 


Eye On Boise

Charges fly in high court race

at 1:05 p.m. on May 21

As Tuesday's election approaches, charges are flying in the non-partisan contested race for the Idaho Supreme Court.

Justice Roger Burdick issued a press release ripping his challenger, 2nd District Judge John Bradbury, for four decisions in criminal matters that were reversed on appeal, saying, "If the appellate courts had adopted Bradbury's view of the law, Idaho's death row would have been essentially emptied after 2003 and none of more than a dozen death row inmates could have been resentenced to death."

Bradbury issued a press release blasting Burdick for comments in a debate that Bradbury contends went too far in addressing a water issue that will come before the Supreme Court, saying, "Justice Burdick may very well have exposed himself to disqualification on the very issues that he is trying to use to ride to another term." Also, current Chief Justice Dan Eismann issued a statement critical of claims made in two Bradbury campaign ads.

The Burdick-Bradbury race is the only contested race for Idaho's highest court his year; Justice Jim Jones is unopposed for re-election.



October 29, 2010 in Idaho

Idaho AG wants inmate's death sentence reinstated

Associated Press

BOISE -- State Attorney General Lawrence Wasden wants the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an Idaho Supreme Court decision that largely cleared the way for a former death row inmate to be re-sentenced, his office said today.

Dale Shackelford, of Ironton, Mo., was convicted in 2000 of shooting to death his ex-wife, Donna Fontaine, and her boyfriend, Fred Palahniuk, and then setting their bodies ablaze in the remote north-central Idaho village of Kendrick, southeast of Moscow.

His complicated trial lasted more than a month, with Latah County prosecutors describing an elaborate scheme in which Shackelford and several of his lovers all plotted to kill Fontaine.

Second District Judge John Stegner sentenced Shackelford to death for the crimes.

But the U.S. Supreme Court later ruled in a separate case that juries, not judges, must determine if defendants are eligible for the death penalty.

That ruling prompted Stegner to order a new sentencing hearing for Shackelford, now 48.

The Idaho Supreme Court determined that Stegner was right to order a new hearing in a January ruling that upheld Shackelford's double murder conviction.

The court rejected Idaho Attorney General's contention that because the jurors found that Shackelford committed two murders, they effectively determined that he committed one of the aggravating factors that would make him eligible for the death penalty.

The attorney general, along with Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson, wants the U.S. Supreme Court to consider that argument and review the state high court's decision.

"Our position is the Idaho Supreme Court was wrong," Thompson said.

The case began in May 1999 when the charred bodies of Fontaine and Palahniuk were found in the ashes of a burned-down garage in the outskirts of Kendrick.

Fontaine, a former prosecuting attorney from Pilot Knob, Mo., had met Shackelford five years earlier while teaching a class at a Missouri prison where he was serving time on a sodomy conviction.

The two began a romance, and married the next year after his release. The couple bought land near Kendrick, where they planned to build a home, but the marriage soon soured and they divorced in 1997.

Prosecutors said that shortly after, Shackelford began planning to kill Fontaine, with the aid of various women he was dating.

When his efforts in Missouri failed, prosecutors said the scheme spread to Idaho, where Shackelford persuaded his new fiance, Sonja Abitz, and her mother, Mary, to help him.

Prosecutors said Abitz agreed to the scheme because Fontaine had recently filed rape charges against Shackelford, effectively interrupting their wedding plans.

Shackelford was accused of killing his ex-wife's boyfriend, Palahniuk, a Newman Lake, Wash. resident and the father of famous author Chuck Palahniuk, out of jealousy.

In his failed appeal, Shackelford contended that the lower court made several errors during the trial.

In part, Shackelford said the judge wrongly allowed statements made by his co-defendants outside the courtroom to be used by prosecutors in the trial, and said the jury was given faulty instructions for determining his guilt.

Shackelford is seeking a U.S. Supreme Court review of his case, state officials said.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Legal complexities stall executions of Idaho killers


Copyright: 2011 Idaho Statesman

Published: 11/13/11

Paul Blomberg is a man of faith.

It is his Christian faith that kept him from drifting into despair after his 22-year-old daughter Samantha Maher was abducted, raped and killed by a stranger in 2000.

Blomberg's faith allowed him to endure weeks of horrifying testimony during a jury trial and two sentencing hearings -- seven years apart -- for Darrell Payne, the man sentenced to death two separate times for his crimes.

What Blomberg does not have much faith in, however, is an Idaho legal system that does not execute Death Row prisoners.

Since the Idaho death penalty was reinstated in 1979, more Death Row inmates (three) have been freed than have been executed (one). More than half of the 40 people given the death penalty have had their sentences changed and are no longer candidates for execution.

That could change Friday. Convicted killer Paul Rhoades is scheduled to die at 8:10 a.m. His lawyers have challenged Idaho's lethal injection protocol as unconstitutional and asked for a stay of execution; U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush is expected to rule Monday. On Thursday, Bush said he has some doubts the Idaho Department of Correction is ready to execute Rhoades.

If Rhoades' death proceeds as scheduled, he will be the first Death Row inmate executed against his will since 1957. Keith Wells, a convicted murderer, waived his appeals and was executed in 1994.

"It would be a positive thing for the justice system if it actually happens," Blomberg said last week. "Even then, why did it take (24) years for this to happen?"


Blomberg wouldn't be surprised by another delay.

A year ago, he told the Statesman this story about a conversation he'd had a year before with Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

"I sat across from Lawrence Wasden and asked him, point blank, if Idaho will ever execute anyone. He told me no," Blomberg said.

"We believe the death penalty is just. We think it is appropriate (for Payne). But if the state of Idaho is going to have a death penalty and never enforce it ... why have one in the first place? Victims have no idea what they are in for."

A spokesman for Wasden says the AG remembers the conversation differently and did not say no one will be ever be executed, but understands Blomberg's frustration.

The biggest challenge Wasden's staff says it faces in death penalty cases is getting them through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The AG's office said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has the longest average decision time of any of the 13 circuits in the United States. The Los Angeles Times found it takes an average of 16.3 months for 9th Circuit panels to issue opinions, compared with an average of 11.7 months for all other circuits, citing data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (the number are for all appeals, not just death penalty cases, which can take longer).

If you ask defense attorneys and other experts, they say the answer is not that simple.

When the death sentence is at stake, legal issues are vetted with great care. Death penalty cases are scrutinized at such an intense level, these lawyers say, that finding errors is almost inevitable -- and some lawyers dispute the idea that the 9th Circuit is that much more of a roadblock.

"If somebody asked me why we haven't had executions, the simple answer would be that these cases are just so very complex," said Teresa Hampton, an Idaho federal public defender who represents several of Idaho's Death Row inmates in federal court -- including Rhoades.

In fact, a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court upheld Rhoades' Idaho death sentence in July 2010, paving the way for his Nov. 18 execution.


Rhoades was sentenced to death in 1988 for the rape and murder of Idaho Falls teacher Susan Michelbacher, 34, and the kidnapping and murder of Blackfoot convenience store clerk Stacy Dawn Baldwin, 21.

Rhoades also is serving a life sentence for the shooting death of Nolan Haddon, 21, of Blackfoot at an Idaho Falls convenience store. The murders happened in February and March 1987.

Rhoades has been close to death before -- in 1991 and 1993 -- but his execution was stayed after appeals to U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. District Court. Now, however, all Rhoades' legal appeals have been heard and rejected.

If Bush rejects Rhoades' request for a stay Monday, Rhoades still can try to get the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court to consider his case.

Nolan Haddon's brother recently told the Post-Register in Idaho Falls that his family wants to see Rhoades executed.

"He's lived so long now I'm sick and tired of hearing about it," Wes Haddon said. "It keeps going on and on."


In Idaho, a death sentence is subject to an automatic review by the Idaho Supreme Court. If the court rejects the case, the conviction can be appealed to the U.S. District Court in Idaho, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then the U.S. Supreme Court. Cases that get bounced back to the state courts can go through all those courts again.

Of the 40 inmates given the death penalty since 1979, eight have had their death sentences reversed by the Idaho Supreme Court, according the Idaho attorney general's office. Ten cases are pending in the U.S. District Court in Idaho or the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Three cases were reversed or settled by negotiation in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the death sentence of convicted killer Bryan Lankford.

Three inmates have died while in prison.

Three inmates -- Donald Paradis, Thomas Gibson and Charles Fain -- have been freed because of new evidence.

The remainder are death sentences issued over the past decade -- including those for Payne, Azad Abdullah and Erick Hall (both 2005) -- all of which have appeals making their way through the state courts.


By all accounts, it is hard to get a death penalty case upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Just this year, the court determined that Lacey Sivak -- on Idaho's Death Row since 1981 -- needs a new sentencing hearing. The 9th Circuit ruled that while Sivak's conviction on first-degree murder charges is appropriate, the outcome of his sentencing hearing might have been different if Ada County prosecutors hadn't knowingly presented the testimony of an inmate who had perjured himself. That case is 30 years old.

Assessing the 9th Circuit's role is "complicated," says Shaun P. Martin, a law professor at University of San Diego School of Law who studies the appeals court.

"But my strong view is that while the 9th Circuit makes it relatively difficult to execute people, it's definitely still possible," he said, "and plenty of states in the 9th Circuit have successfully executed murderers at much higher rates than Idaho has been able to pull over."

He does note that other circuits, such as the 4th (based in Virginia and including the Carolinas and Maryland) and the 5th in Texas (including Louisiana and Mississippi) "are more pro-death penalty." "As a result," Martin said, "Virginia ends up executing around two-thirds of people who are sentenced to death and Texas executes around half. ... So it's true that it's harder to execute people in the 9th Circuit than in some other circuits."

But Idaho has to share the blame, he said. States in the 9th Circuit have executed more inmates, such as Montana (three of 10) and Nevada (about 10 percent) since the late 1970s.

"It's a fair piece higher than Idaho's execution rates," Martin said.

Idaho's few executions could be a statistical anomaly, Martin said. Or, he said, "Idaho prosecutors aren't as good at arguing in the 9th Circuit and/or capital prosecutions in Idaho are relatively more flawed than in other states -- perhaps because those other states have more experience in capital prosecutions."



The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals covers the most ground of the 13 circuit courts in the United States -- Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii and California. Alaska and Hawaii have no death penalty.


- 37 people on Death Row.

- Two executions since 1996. Douglas Wright and Harry Moore were both "volunteers" -- meaning they did not pursue legal appeals. Oregon's longest-serving inmate is Mark Pinnel, sentenced to death in 1992. Convicted killer Gary Haugen is scheduled to die Dec. 3.


- Eight men on Death Row.

- Five men executed since 1993; execution orders for two more have been affirmed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals but are under appeal in state courts. Three of the five men executed were "volunteers." Convicted killer Cal Brown was executed last year -- the first since 2001.


- 83 prisoners on Death Row.

- 12 inmates put to death since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976; 11 of those "voluntary." Rapist and murderer Daryl Mack was executed in 2006.


- 713 inmates on Death Row.

- 13 inmates executed since 1992, but none in the past six years as lethal injection is challenged in court.


- Two inmates on Death Row.

- Three executed since 1976.


- 129 inmates on Death Row.

- 23 executed since 1992.


Azad Abduallah: Sentenced in Ada County in 2004 for the death of his wife.

David Card: Sentenced in Canyon County in 1989 for shooting two people.

Thomas Creech: Sentenced in Ada County in 1983 for beating an inmate to death.

Timothy Dunlap: Sentenced in Caribou County in April 1992 for killing a woman during a bank robbery.

Zane Fields: Sentenced in Ada County in 1991 for a stabbing death.

James Hairston: Sentenced in 1996 in Bannock County for the fatal shooting of two people.

Erick Hall: Two separate Ada County death sentences in 2004 and 2008 for the rape and murder of two women in 2000 and 2003.

Michael Jauhola: Sentenced in Ada County in 2001 for the beating death of a fellow inmate.

Richard Leavitt: Sentenced in Bingham County in 1985 for a mutilation and stabbing death.

Darrell Payne: Sentenced in Ada County in 2002 for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a Boise State student.

Gerald Pizzuto: Sentenced in Idaho County in 1986 for the beating deaths of two people.

Paul Rhoades: Sentenced in Bingham and Bonneville counties in 1988 for the kidnapping and deaths of two women.

Robin Row: The only woman on Death Row. Sentenced in Ada County in 1993 for the arson deaths of her husband, son and daughter.

Lacey Sivak: Sentenced in Ada County in 1981 for killing a gas station attendant during a robbery. (Case sent back to state court for resentencing by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals; state will appeal that decision and Sivak remains on the active list.)

Gene Stuart: Sentenced in Clearwater County in 1982 for beating a 3-year-old boy to death.



Patrick has covered public safety for the Idaho Statesman for more than a decade. In that time, he has covered dozens of murder trials, including at least five death-penalty cases.







4 death row inmates sue over Idaho's newest lethal injection procedures


Associated Press
First Posted: April 10, 2012 - 6:36 pm
Last Updated: April 10, 2012 - 6:37 pm

BOISE, Idaho -- Four inmates on Idaho's death row are suing the state, contending Idaho's new execution procedures give too much power to prison officials, create a risk of severe pain and would allow unqualified workers to carry out medical procedures. The lawsuit, filed in Boise's U.S. District Court late last week, asks a judge to stop all executions until the problems are fixed.

The lawsuit against the Idaho Department of Correction's Director Brent Reinke, Operations Division Chief Kevin Kempf and other department officials comes as the men prepare for the possibility of an execution sometime in late spring or early summer. Richard Leavitt, convicted of the brutal 1984 stabbing death of Danette Jean Elg in Blackfoot, is waiting to see if the U.S. Supreme Court will consider his case. If the high court refuses, Leavitt could be the next inmate to enter the lethal injection chamber at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution.

Leavitt is joined in the lawsuit by fellow condemned inmates Thomas Creech, James Hairston and Gene Stuart. All four men are represented by the Federal Public Defender's office.

In the 37-page lawsuit, the inmates take issue with Idaho's newest version of the execution policy, adopted by the department earlier this year.

The new policy allows the state to use either a three-drug mixture for lethal injections, or to opt to use just one drug. It also changed the name of the team that administers the lethal injection from "injection team" to "medical team" and limited the legal ramifications for health professionals involved with executions.

It also can be changed at any time, under the sole discretion of one of two IDOC officials, without any notice to death row inmates or their attorneys. If unforeseen developments occur during an execution, Director Brent Reinke or Idaho Maximum Security Institution Warden Randy Blades can determine how to respond without any constraints on their discretion.

That gives too much power to the IDOC officials, the inmates contend, and violates the inmates' right to due process.

"Executing any plaintiff without notice of the procedures to be used denies each plaintiff the right to a reasonable opportunity to review and to be heard, in violation of the right to due process," attorney Oliver Loewy wrote on behalf of inmates in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also takes issue with the way Idaho officials might obtain the drugs used in lethal injection execution, with the inmates contending that the drugs would likely be illegally obtained or adulterated in some way.

The new protocol doesn't require that members of the medical team have current professional experience inserting or maintaining IVs on a regular basis, the inmates claim, nor does it require that they have any experience or training in preparing chemicals for injection.

That creates the possibility of error, and extreme pain for the condemned, the inmates claim.

The state has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.







This is the link of "Idaho - Department of Corrections" and the special page who concerns the Death Row :

Also, here are the photos of the four famous Death Row inmates and some informations :

1. Leavitt, Richard, IDOC #23081, DOB: 11-12-1958

    Received: December 1985

     Convicted of 1st degree murder for a mutilation and stabbing death in Bingham County.

2. Creech, Thomas - IDOC # 14984

    DOB: 9-9-50

     Received: January 1983

     Beating death of an inmate in Ada County

3. Hairston, James - IDOC #50337

    DOB: 7-6-1976

   Received: November 1996

    Convicted of  1st degree murder for two shooting deaths in Bannock County

4. Stuart, Gene IDOC #18235

    DOB: 8-9-1951

    Received: December 1982

    Convicted of 1st degree murder for the beating death of a three-year-old boy in Clearwater County.







Granny B

Way to go Idaho!!  Great changes to the law.  I hope it stands up, and all states pass theirs the same way!

Loved it!
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy

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