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Injection Stay Denied by CA10

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The Tenth Circuit today denied a stay and affirmed denial of injunctive relief to Oklahoma murderer Corey Hamilton. CA10 described the crime in its previous opinion on the case, 436 F.3d 1181:

This death penalty appeal arises out of the 1992 killings of four employees of Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken Restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In the course of a robbery in which Corey Hamilton participated, the employees were placed in a food locker and forced to kneel at gunpoint. Hamilton shot each in the head.

In today's decision, the court denied relief based on both Hamilton's delay in bringing the claim and his unlikelihood of success on the merits. Although challenges to injection protocols have been around for a few years now, Hamilton waited until his federal habeas proceedings were over, except for the denial of certiorari, to begin the administrative challenge to the protocol. After that challenge was completed, he waited another five months before filing the civil rights action.

On the merits, the court did not find that the recent execution in Florida, where the IV needles were apparently pushed all the way through the vein, created a probability of success. Unlike Florida, "the Oklahoma protocol places this responsibility in the hands of an EMT-P, a professional expressly recognized as fully qualified for this purpose by the experts in this case."

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It's nice to see federal judges who don't get worked up about the wattage of a light bulb in the execution room a la Judge Fogel.

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