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on: March 26, 2015, 08:12:50 AM 1 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Lester Bower, Jr. - TX - 6/3/15

Bower's execution date set in June

Posted: Wed 5:01 PM, Mar 25, 2015
Lester Bower has a new execution date for June 3. This is the seventh time Bower's execution date has been set.

Monday, the Supreme Court denied an appeal from Bower. He was scheduled to be executed on February 10 but it was put on hold five days earlier.

Grayson County District Clerk Kelly Ashmore confirmed she signed the death warrant ordered by Judge Jim Fallin.

Bower has been on death row for more than 30 years after being convicted for the slayings of Jerry Brown, Bob Tate, Philip Good, and Ronald Mayes in 1983 in a Grayson County airplane hanger.

on: March 26, 2015, 06:42:26 AM 2 General Death Penalty / Texas Death Penalty News / Re: Texas Death Penalty News

Texas obtains more lethal injection drugs

By Mark Berman March 25 at 6:19 PM    

Texas, the country’s leading death-penalty state, was facing a bit of a quandary recently: Authorities there have six executions scheduled over the next three months, but they only had only enough lethal injection drugs to carry out one of them. And they were not sure what to do when they ran out. Would they postpone the other executions? Try to find a new lethal injection drug, as so many other states have done amid a shortage of execution drugs?

The state will have a little longer to figure that out. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Wednesday that it had obtained another batch of pentobarbital, the drug used in lethal injections there since 2012.

This comes a little more than two weeks before the state’s next scheduled execution, which is set for April 9. That is the first of four executions set for April, with lethal injections also on the calendar in May and June.

“We continue to explore all options including the continued used of pentobarbital or alternate drugs to use in the lethal injection process,” Jason Clark, a spokesman for the department, said in an e-mail Wednesday.

Clark said that the state bought the drugs from “a licensed pharmacy that has the ability to compound,” but he declined to answer additional questions about the pharmacy. He had previously pointed to a lawsuit filed against the Department of Criminal Justice in order to force it to reveal the name of the compounding pharmacy that had supplied the state with lethal injection drugs.

Good old just can't keep a good state down.   8)

on: March 23, 2015, 08:48:38 AM 3 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Lester Bower, Jr. - TX - 2/10/15 - Stayed

Supreme Court won’t hear appeal of Texas inmate who has been on death row for 30 years

By Mark Berman March 23 at 11:25 AM    

The Supreme Court said Monday it would not hear an appeal from an inmate who has been on death row in Texas for nearly three decades. This decision lifts a stay that has been in place since last month and opens the door for Texas to schedule and try to carry out an execution of one of its longest-serving death row inmates.

Lester Bower, 67, was convicted of shooting and killing four men in an aircraft hangar in 1983. He shot one man while trying to steal an ultralight plane this man was trying to sell, then shot the other three when they unexpectedly arrived, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Bower’s long tenure on death row was among the reasons his attorneys argued he should be eligible for a stay. They say that his execution has been scheduled six times since he arrived on death row, and he has come within hours of heading to the death chamber before.

“Executing Mr. Bower after he has served on death row for more than 30 years under these circumstances serves no penological purpose and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment,” his attorneys wrote in a filing to the Supreme Court.

Last month, five days before Bower’s scheduled lethal injection in Texas, the full Supreme Court granted his request for a stay while it considered whether to hear his case. No explanation was offered, but the court’s order said that if the justices decided not to hear the case, the stay would be lifted.

The court’s decision Monday not to hear the case comes weeks before the justices are scheduled to consider a different case involving capital punishment. The justices are going to hear a case focusing on Oklahoma’s lethal-injection procedure, which relies upon a controversial drug that has been involved in problematic executions. Executions in Oklahoma, Florida and Alabama have been delayed until after the court rules in that case.

After the court said it would not hear the case after all, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in a dissent that he disagreed with the decision. Breyer, who was joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, argued that the court should hear it because of an issue involving sentencing in Bower’s case. When Bower was convicted, the jury helping decide his sentence did not consider potentially mitigating evidence, something the Supreme Court later said was unconstitutional. As a result, Beyer says this should allow for a new sentencing hearing for Bower.

“I recognize that we do not often intervene only to correct a case-specific legal error,” Breyer wrote. “But the error here is glaring, and its consequence may well be death.”

If Bower had been executed last month as scheduled, he would have been the oldest inmate executed in Texas history, according to the state’s Department of Criminal Justice. As it is, he has already spent three times as many years on death row as the average inmate in the state. The average death-row inmate nationwide has spent about 14 years under a death sentence, Justice Department figures show.

Texas state officials argued against granting Bower a reprieve, saying that because Bower has been fighting his looming execution in the courts for so long, his lengthy tenure on row “is purely of his own making.”

“Bower’s claims are nothing more than a meritless attempt to postpone his execution,” the office of Ken Paxton, attorney general of Texas, said in a filing to the Supreme Court opposing a stay. “The families of the victims of Bower’s quadruple murder have been waiting to see Bower’s sentence carried out for over thirty years now.”

However, it is unclear when Bower may face the death chamber. Texas has half a dozen executions scheduled over the next three months and only one dose of its lethal injection drug left. As a result, if the state carries out its scheduled execution of Kent Sprouse on April 9, it will have no execution drugs left and five other executions on the calendar. States around the country are facing a shortage of lethal injection drugs, which has fragmented the way executions are carried out nationwide.

on: March 19, 2015, 11:47:10 AM 4 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Randall Wayne Mays - TX - 3/18/15 - Stayed

Henderson Co. DA responds to Randall Mays stay of execution

 HENDERSON COUNTY, TEXAS (KETK) — On Monday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals placed a stay on the March 18 execution of an East Texas man.

 According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark, the execution of Randall Mays, 55, was halted after the court ruled additional review of his mental competency is needed. Mays was sentenced to death for killing two peace officers May 17, 2007. The convict barricaded himself in a Henderson County home after neighbors reported hearing gunfire. He then used a high-powered rifle to shoot at authorities and fatally shot Tony Ogburn. He also killed another deputy, Paul Habelt, and critically injured one other.

On Tuesday, the Henderson County District Attorney's Office released the following response to the stay of execution:

Yesterday’s order by the Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin (CCA) is disappointing for the family and friends of Paul, Tony and Kevin, as well as the entire law enforcement community.

 In Texas and the United States, the law holds that it is unconstitutional to execute a person who does not know why they are to be executed and that the execution is imminent. We believe that Mays is fully competent and that the people of Henderson County, through the jury in this case, issued a clear message in its verdict.

 Although the court in Austin issued a stay, they have not overturned Judge Tarrance's ruling from February 27th that held Mays had not raised substantial doubt of his competency to be executed.

 In its order today, the CCA simply stated it needed more time to consider the arguments and briefs of the State and Mays' attorneys in Austin.

One could certainly speculate that Mays' attorneys made the tactical decision to wait mere weeks before the scheduled execution in order to put the court against the wall with a tight timeline.

 At this point the CCA can do one of two things: uphold Judge Tarrance's findings and ask him to set a new execution date, or reverse his findings and remand the case back to him.

 If the latter happens, the court would appoint at least two independent experts to evaluate Mays for his competency to be executed. After the evaluations, another hearing would then be had and Judge Tarrance would have to rule again. And of course, the CCA would review that ruling.

 I certainly believe and argued in our brief to the CCA that Judge Tarrance and not the judges in Austin, is in the best position to evaluate Mays's competency claims. Judge Tarrance was the trial judge and has handled this case fairly, correctly and efficiently for the past eight years. We certainly hope and advocate for the CCA to uphold his ruling and allow Judge Tarrance to set another execution date.

on: March 13, 2015, 06:58:43 AM 5 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Cecil Clayton - MO - 3/17/15

Missouri inmate faces St Patrick's Day execution for shooting dead sheriff's deputy

By Lydia Warren For

A man who murdered a sheriff's deputy years after doctors removed part of his brain will be put to death in Missouri next week - but his lawyers are fighting for him to be saved.  ;D

Cecil Clayton, from Purdy, will be executed at the state prison in Bonne Terre at 6pm on March 17 for the November 1996 shooting of Barry County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Castetter.

But his attorneys are making a last-ditch attempt to save him by calling for a competency trial - saying a traumatic brain injury makes it impossible for him to understand his death sentence.  ;D

In 1972, 24 years before he killed the officer, Clayton was using a sawmill when a board splintered and a shard went into his head above his right eye, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Facing death: Cecil Clayton is scheduled to die in Missouri next week but his lawyers are calling for a competency hearing. Twenty years before he murdered a cop, he had part of his brain removed, they say  ;D

Doctors were forced to remove 20 per cent of his frontal lobe, the area of the brain that controls decision making and emotions, the newspaper reported as it called for Clayton to be spared.  ;D

Following the accident and before the arrest, Clayton frequently went to mental health facilities, spending up to 15 months at a time under psychiatric care.  ;D

Then the evening before Thanksgiving in 1996, Deputy Castetter responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle parked outside Clayton's girlfriend's mother's home.

Earlier that night, Clayton and his girlfriend had been arguing, and prosecutors said he then took a loaded gun to her mother's house.

Clayton walked up to the deputy's patrol car window and shot him in the head at point-blank range. Castetter, a 29-year-old married father-of-three, died in the hospital later that day.

He was convicted of the murder in October 1997 and sentenced to death later that year.

His attorneys argued that he was mentally incompetent to stand trial but despite their appeals, state and federal appeals courts have upheld the conviction and the death penalty.

His lawyers are now seeking a competency hearing to determine whether he understands his death penalty.  ;D

Mental health professionals who have examined him agree that he is mentally impaired and has mental health issues, including dementia.  ;D

His most recent IQ test found he had an IQ of just 71 - 29 points below the average.  ;D

'He is not simply incompetent legally; he would be unable to care for himself or manage basic self-care, were he not in a structured environment that takes care of him,' according to a doctor who examined him, the Kansas City Star reported.  ;D

'He can shower, groom, eat, walk; it is his comprehension, judgment, memory, limited intelligence and social deficits that plague him.'  ;D

But there is no agreement on how much he understands his death penalty or his other options.  ;D

In Missouri, the director of the Department of Corrections is the only one with the authority to order a competency hearing, and last year, he called on a doctor to examine Clayton.

Dr. James Reynolds of the Missouri Department of Mental Health concluded that Clayton is mentally ill, but could not be certain that he doesn't understand his death sentence.  ;D

But Clayton's lawyers say, while he may have conversations in which he understands he is about to be executed, he will later forget that conversation ever happened. His family have also called for a fair hearing on the issue.  ;D

'He is brain-damaged, and talking with him is like talking to a child,' Clayton's daughter, Jena Clayton, said during his clemency petition, the Kansas City Star reported. 'I do not believe we are the kind of country that executes the disabled.'  ;D

Clayton, who is the state's oldest death row inmate, will be put to death between 6pm on March 17 and 5.59pm on March 18.

He will become the second person put to death in the state in 2015, after a record 10 executions in Missouri in 2014. Last month, Walter Storey was put to death for slitting his neighbor's throat 25 years ago.

Read more:

on: March 12, 2015, 07:06:32 AM 6 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Manuel Vasquez - TX - 3/11/15 - Executed

Last words and such...

Vasquez, in a final statement, told his family and friends he loved them and thanked "the Lord for his kind mercy, faithfulness and unconditional love."  "In Jesus' name I pray," he said, then told the warden: "I'm ready."

He ate a last meal of pepper steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots, baked beans, bread and apple cake with tea to drink.


Vasquez was the 4th convicted murderer executed in Texas this year and the 521st since executions resumed.
His was the 9th 2015 US execution and the 1403rd since 1976.

The skinny...

Vasquez filed no last minute appeals after he was denied clemency earlier this week.  He was given a stay last August because of a backlog of paperwork...Texas shrugged its shoulders and lit Vasquez up six months later.

on: March 11, 2015, 10:50:09 AM 7 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Manuel Vasquez - TX - 3/11/15

Texas to execute gang hit man for killing over drug tax

By MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press
Updated 9:14 am, Wednesday, March 11, 2015

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Mexican Mafia hit man convicted of beating and strangling a San Antonio woman because she didn't pay the gang's 10 percent tax on her illegal drug sales was set to be executed Wednesday evening.

The injection of Manuel Vasquez, 46, with a lethal dose of pentobarbital would leave Texas with enough of the powerful sedative to carry out only one more execution. At least six prisoners are scheduled to die in the coming weeks.

Vasquez's lawyers filed no late appeals to delay his execution for the 1998 slaying of 51-year-old Juanita Ybarra.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review his case in October 2013.

Adios Manny  8)

on: March 05, 2015, 12:05:00 PM 8 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Manuel Vasquez - TX - 3/11/15

Media Advisory: Manuel Vasquez scheduled for execution

AUSTIN – Pursuant to an order by the 144th District Court of Bexar County, Texas, Manuel Vasquez is scheduled for execution after 6 p.m. on Wed., March 11, 2015.

On Nov. 5, 1999, a Bexar County jury convicted Vasquez for the capital murder of Juanita Ybarra. Following separate punishment phase proceedings, the convicting court sentenced Vasquez to death.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit provided the following summary of the underlying facts:

  • n the morning of March 19, 1998, Vasquez, a member of [organized crime gang], together with Johnny Joe Cruz and Oligario Lujan, forcefully entered the motel room of Juanita Ybarra. Ybarra was present, as was Moses Bazan. Vasquez, Cruz, and Lujan proceeded to attack Bazan and Ybarra. Bazan was assaulted until he lost consciousness. Ybarra was strangled to death, after which her motel room was searched for valuables. The robbery and murder were motivated by Ybarra’s failure to pay the [organized crime gang]’s […] tax, consisting of 10 percent of the proceeds of Ybarra’s sale of illegal drugs.


Under Texas law, the rules of evidence prevent certain prior criminal acts from being presented to a jury during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial.  However, once a defendant is found guilty, jurors are presented information about the defendant’s prior criminal conduct during the second phase of the trial – which is when they determine the defendant’s punishment.

During the punishment phase, the State presented evidence regarding Vasquez’s violent criminal history, including (1) Vasquez’s receiving a 10-year sentence for aggravated assault for his role in the Aug. 31, 1986, death of Robert Alva during which Vasquez (along with his younger brother and others) choked Alva with a belt, beat him with a crowbar, kicked him, and set him on fire after dousing him with gasoline; (2) Vasquez’s commission of robbery by threats on Aug. 31, 1986, for which he received one year probation; (3) Vasquez’s March 5, 1992, execution style murder of drug dealer Richard Pacheco in retaliation for Pacheco’s failure to pay the [organized crime gang]’s “tax” on proceeds from the sale of illegal drugs; (4) Vasquez’s nearly fatal stabbing of Hector Zacharias on May 31, 1992, and resultant conviction and 8-year sentence for attempted murder; and (5) Vasquez’s participation with several other individuals in a series of burglaries and a pair of unsolved robberies committed in September – October 1996.

The State also presented evidence regarding Vasquez’s potential for future dangerousness. A Bexar County Sheriff’s Department officer testified that Vasquez was “a disruptive, violent, aggressive and dangerousness inmate” who was kept in segregation or isolation for the entire period in jail as a result of his assaultive behavior towards staff and inmates. Vasquez continued to associate with an organized criminal organization while he was awaiting trial for capital murder and was found in possession of a letter from a general of the criminal organization and a pair of treaties executed by the criminal organization with other prison gangs. Finally, while Vasquez was incarcerated at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, he obtained disciplinary actions for possessing a weapon, inciting a riot, and engaging in a fight.


On June 10, 1998, a Bexar County grand jury indicted Vasquez for the March 19, 1998, capital murder of Juanita Ybarra, charging that Vasquez intentionally killed Ybarra by strangling her with a ligature while in the course of committing and attempting to commit the offense of robbery.

On Nov. 5, 1999, Vasquez was convicted of capital murder. After several days of punishment phase proceedings, Vasquez’s jury deliberated for slightly more than two hours before returning its verdict to the special issues. In accordance with the jury’s answers, on Nov. 10, 1999, the trial judge sentenced Vasquez to death by lethal injection.

On Feb. 6, 2002, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Vasquez’s conviction and sentence on direct appeal. Vasquez did not seek certiorari review from the U.S. Supreme Court.

While his direct appeal was pending, Vasquez filed a state habeas corpus application on Dec. 13, 2001, asserting seven grounds for relief. In August and September of 2005, the trial court held an evidentiary hearing on Vasquez’s claims, and on Aug. 7, 2009, issued findings of fact and conclusions of law recommending his application be denied. On Nov. 18, 2009, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued an order denying habeas corpus relief.

On Nov. 12, 2010, Vasquez petitioned for federal habeas relief, asserting seven grounds for relief. On July 19, 2012, a federal district court issued a 123-page Memorandum Opinion and Order that rejected Vasquez’s claims on procedural and merits-based grounds, and denied Vasquez a certificate of appealability (COA). The district court issued final judgment the same day.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, holding “that reasonable jurists would not debate the district court’s well-reasoned and thorough decision,” denied Vasquez a COA.

On Oct. 7, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Vasquez’s petition for certiorari review.

On Sept. 18, 2014, the 144th District Court of Bexar County, Texas, set Vasquez’s execution for Wed., March 11, 2015.

On Jan. 20, 2015, Vasquez petitioned for clemency from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

on: March 03, 2015, 06:57:01 AM 9 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Kelly Renee Gissendaner - GA - 2/25/15 - Stayed

Hmmmm...the real reason for the "snow & ice postponement" and "cloudy drug stay" is that Georgia does not want to execute a woman.

on: February 25, 2015, 07:05:21 AM 10 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Kelly Renee Gissendaner - GA - 2/25/15

Only Woman On Georgia’s Death Row Denied Clemency

Update — Feb. 25, 2014 9:50 a.m.: The State Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency to Kelly Gissendaner.

Kelly Gissendaner, the only woman on Georgia's death row, is set to be executed today for her role in the 1997 murder of her husband.

If executed, Gissendaner will be the first woman put to death in the state since 1945.

The Supreme Court denied her appeal in October 2014, and she concluded all her direct appeal proceedings.

on: February 24, 2015, 12:32:39 PM 11 General Death Penalty / Pennsylvania Death Penalty News / Re: Pennsylvania Death Penalty News

My Turn: Why Wolf's moratorium will fail

Posted: Monday, February 23, 2015 4:27 pm

John Morganelli 

Governor Tom Wolf did not impose a “moratorium” on Pennsylvania’s death penalty. He has no such authority and he knows that. The governor was properly advised by Judge Timothy K. Lewis, former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge, that there exists no authority in the Office of Pennsylvania Governor to declare a moratorium or suspend the death penalty. What the governor did was to grant a “reprieve” to one death row inmate who was scheduled for an imminent execution. The granting of a “reprieve” is one of the governor’s powers with respect to clemency in Article IV, Section 9(a) of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The other two are the power to “commute” a death sentence to life and to grant a “pardon.” The latter two, however, cannot be exercised by the governor unless recommended by the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. With respect to commuting a death sentence to life, the recommendation must be unanimous.
Under Pennsylvania law, the issuance of execution warrants by the executive branch is a mandatory duty. That precedent was established in Morganelli v. Casey, a case I brought in 1994 against then-governor Robert Casey. Today, the governor is given 90 days to sign a death warrant after receiving the case from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If the governor does not sign the execution warrant, the execution date must be set by the Department of Corrections and the execution proceeds without the governor’s signature.
Accordingly, Judge Lewis advised the governor that executions must proceed and that the use of the “reprieve” power was the only constitutional basis for creating a “defacto” moratorium. The governor has stated that he will grant “reprieves” for subsequent scheduled executions for each death row inmate at least until the release of an impending study being done by a task force established by the legislature.
The governor’s objective is unlikely to succeed. In Morganelli v. Casey, the court held that a “reprieve” exists only to afford an individual defendant the opportunity to temporarily postpone an execution for a particular proceeding involving that defendant — i.e. a pending application for a pardon, commutation or judicial relief. It is unlikely that a court will allow a governor to grant “reprieves” based on a governor’s concern about the fairness of the process or the release of a report that has no legal significance. If this was permitted, it would in effect allow a governor to commute death sentences to life bypassing The Board of Pardons in contravention of Article IV of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Only the legislature has the power to repeal the death penalty and only the judiciary has the power to suspend the death penalty or declare it null and void as unconstitutional or in violation of due process.
Pennsylvania’s death penalty was deemed constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court many years ago in the case of Blystone, and, therefore, the governor will not be able to derail Pennsylvania’s death penalty by continuously granting “reprieves” in individual cases. As someone who has personally litigated these issues, I predict that ultimately the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will find the governor’s action outside of the intended purpose and scope of a “reprieve.”
John M. Morganelli, is the District Attorney of Northampton County. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association and in 1994 successfully prosecuted an unprecedented case against the Governor of Pennsylvania to enforce Pennsylvania’s death penalty.

on: February 19, 2015, 02:08:01 PM 12 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Ronald Phillips - OH - 1/21/16

Federal judge rejects death-row inmates' challenge to Ohio's execution secrecy rules

 A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by four death-row inmates challenging the constitutionality of Ohio's new execution secrecy rules.

 The suit argued that the new law, which shields the identities of most participants in Ohio's execution process, violates the condemned inmates' rights to free speech and due process.

 U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost dismissed the case on Tuesday, agreeing with the state's arguments that the rules would not infringe on free speech and the plaintiffs' case is "based on conjectural or hypothetical" injuries.

 "H.B. 663 does not suppress speech or the ability to oppose the death penalty," Frost wrote in his opinion.

 "Rather," Frost stated, "the statutory scheme simply cuts off Ohio and its employees as a source of specific information for both proponents and opponents of the death penalty.

 Under the new law, House Bill 663, Ohio must keep secret the names of people involved with executions, other than top officials. The law also protects the identity of small-scale drug manufacturers called compounding pharmacies if they make lethal-injection drugs for the state.

 Proponents of the rules, signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in December, say they are needed to protect individuals involved with Ohio executions from harassment and potential harm.

 The lawsuit was filed on behalf of death-row inmates Ronald Phillips, Raymond Tibbetts, Robert Van Hook and Grady Brinkley. The first three are scheduled to be executed next year; Brinkley's execution date has not yet been set.

I would trade off 100 other executions to see this maggot get juiced.

on: February 16, 2015, 10:26:57 AM 13 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Thomas Arthur - AL - 2/19/15

Alabama death row inmate seeks stay of execution

Brian Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser 2:32 p.m. CST February 13, 2015

Attorneys for an Alabama death row inmate scheduled to die next week asked a federal court Friday to stop the execution.

Thomas Arthur, convicted in 1982 in a murder-for-hire scheme, has been at the center of an ongoing battle over the drugs Alabama uses to conduct executions. The inmate first sued in 2011, saying the state’s three-drug cocktail violated his Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

Arthur and attorneys have argued the anesthetic used in the execution would not work fast enough to prevent pain resulting from two succeeding drugs that paralyze the body and stop the heart.

A message left with Suhana Han, an attorney representing Arthur, was not immediately returned Friday morning. Mike Lewis, a spokesman for Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, said Friday the office had no comment.

Arthur is currently scheduled to be executed on Feb. 19.

The inmate’s challenge is one of several facing the state’s administration of capital punishment. When it the state adopted lethal injection as its primary form of execution in 2002, Alabama officials used sodium thiopental as its main sedative in the procedure. In part due to pressure from European anti-death penalty activists, Hospira stopped manufacturing the drug in the United States in 2011; the company said in a statement at the time that it “never condoned” the use of the drug in executions.

Alabama officials then switched to pentobarbital as the main sedative; Arthur and his attorneys argued that drug would take too long to render him unconscious before the other drugs took effect.

State officials acknowledged early last year that they had run out of the drug. The state last conducted an execution on July 25, 2013, when Andrew Reid Lackey was put to death for the 2005 murder of Charles Newman, an 80-year-old World War II veteran.

In filings with the Alabama Supreme Court last September, the Alabama attorney general’s office announced that the Department of Corrections had adopted a new drug protocol, using midazolam hydrochloride, a sedative. Arthur and his attorneys successfully petitioned the court to amend their complaint to target midazolam.  Alabama officials have cited Florida’s use of the drug in executions, which has not resulted in any reported incidents.

The U.S. Supreme Court last month agreed to hear a challenge to the use of midazolam from three inmates on Oklahoma’s death row.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday allowed a 2012 stay on Arthur’s execution to expire, saying it dealt specifically with the timing of certain court filings. However, the panel also said that “nothing herein precludes Mr. Arthur from seeking an injunction or restraining order as to the February 19, 2015 execution,” though it directed the petition to be filed in district court.

Most of the filings in the Arthur case are under seal. Last year, the Department of Corrections denied separate Freedom of Information Act requests from the Advertiser, The Anniston Star and the Associated Press seeking information on the state’s death penalty protocol, citing the Arthur seal.

Christopher Price Lee, convicted in 1991 of the brutal murder of a Tuscaloosa minister, filed a separate lawsuit last October challenging the state’s new execution protocol. The lawsuit is still pending before U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose.

on: February 11, 2015, 06:27:23 AM 14 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Walter T. Storey - MO - 02/11/2015 - Executed

Last words and such...

According to prison officials, Storey released this final statement: "For this world full of anger, hate and revenge, I would like to pray for peace, forgiveness and love! I love everyone, even those who are doing this deed."  Strapped to the gurney, Storey mouthed what appeared to be "I love you" to his witnesses and the family of the victim, Jill Frey. A few seconds later, he began chanting something.

His last meal was a cheeseburger and fries.


Storey was the 1st condemned murderer executed in Missouri this year and the 81st since executions resumed.
His was the 8th 2015 US execution and the 1402nd since 1976.

The skinny...

Storey had two murder convictions and death sentences overturned until the third stuck.  With no other options left he rode the drug secrecy appeal all the way to SCOTUS where it did him as much good as all the others before him...lights out.

on: February 10, 2015, 12:08:00 PM 15 General Death Penalty / Scheduled Executions / Re: Jerry William Correll - FL - 2/26/15

Judge Rejects Arguments In Lethal Injection Fight

February 9, 2015 4:28 PM

TALLAHASSEE (NSF) – As the U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of a lethal-injection drug, an Orange County circuit judge Monday rejected a Death Row inmate’s attempt to block a planned Feb. 26 execution.

The Florida Supreme Court last week sent the case to the circuit judge to allow condemned killer Jerry William Correll to make arguments about the disputed drug, midazolam hydrochloride. The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing the constitutionality of that drug in an Oklahoma case.

But Circuit Judge Jenifer Davis issued a five-page ruling Monday rejecting Correll’s arguments. She pointed to past Florida Supreme Court and federal-court decisions that upheld the use of midazolam hydrochloride as part of a three-drug execution process, known as a protocol.

“(The) Florida Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the protocol against constitutional challenges and held that the lethal injection protocol used in Florida does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Therefore, ‘that protocol is facially constitutional as a matter of law,’ ” she wrote, partially quoting from an earlier Florida Supreme Court ruling.

Correll filed an emergency petition with the Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 30 seeking a stay of his execution until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in the Oklahoma case. The U.S. Supreme Court, which has at least temporarily halted executions in Oklahoma, is considering arguments about whether midazolam hydrochloride does not effectively sedate inmates during the execution process and subjects them to pain that violates the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Florida and other states began using the sedative as the first step in a three-drug execution cocktail in 2013, after previously using a drug called pentobarbital sodium.

In its order last week sending Correll’s case to the circuit judge, the Florida Supreme Court gave Davis a Wednesday deadline to make a ruling and return the case to justices. Two justices, Charles Canady and Ricky Polston, objected to sending the case to the circuit judge, saying Correll had not previously challenged the three-drug protocol and that the Supreme Court had already rejected challenges to the process. Davis’ ruling was posted on the Supreme Court website Monday afternoon.

Gov. Rick Scott last month signed a death warrant for Correll, who was convicted in the stabbing deaths of four people in 1985 in an Orlando home. The victims included Correll’s ex-wife, Susan, and their 5-year-old daughter, Tuesday. Also killed were Susan Correll’s mother, Mary Lou Hines, and her sister, Marybeth Jones.

In announcing the signing of the death warrant, the governor’s office said the women were each stabbed at least 14 times, and the child was stabbed 10 times. Correll, now 59, is on Death Row at Florida State Prison.
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