It has been two years since CDCR said the Governor had directed it to develop a one-drug protocol to eliminate the problems and the litigation over the three-drug method. There is simply no excuse for taking so long.
CJLF's press release is here.
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) -- A Texas woman convicted of the starvation and torture death of her girlfriend's 9-year-old son a decade ago was executed Wednesday evening.
Lisa Coleman, 38, received a lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-day appeal to spare her.
She was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m. CDT, 12 minutes after Texas Department of Criminal officials began administering a lethal dose of pentobarbital.
The most puzzling aspect of the reprieve Gov. Kitzhaber granted to my client Gary Haugen is why he chose the utterly unprecedented device of a reprieve of indefinite duration, which will expire as soon as he leaves office, rather than using the more conventional method of commuting Haugen's death sentence to life in prison.
But as American physicians sideline themselves and European pharmaceutical firms (and American ones with global ties) decline to supply the most known and efficacious lethal injection drugs, corrections officials have been pushed to use inferior methods and substandard providers. In other words--and painful though it is to admit--the real culprit in the death of Clayton Lockett is opposition to the death penalty. In pushing for outright abolition of capital punishment, we have undermined the counterveiling effort to make it as clean and painless as possible. The perfect has become the enemy of the good-enough execution.Yup.
So when you are stone cold guilty of a crime for which the death penalty is clearly appropriate, what do your lawyers argue about at the last minute? Drug expiration dates. Really.
"I shot my brother-in-law in self-defense and I shot my wife by accident," he told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "There's no doubt I committed this crime. The dispute is the sequence of how it happened."Actually, not too much of a dispute. That "accidental" shooting involved 11 bullets. The gun was a semiautomatic, not a full automatic, so that requires pulling the trigger "accidentally" 11 times. And there were multiple witnesses. Trottie told his wife as he was killing her, "Bitch, I told you I was going to kill you."
If one is remembered for the rules one breaks, then our court must be unforgettable. By taking this capital habeas case en banc now--after certiorari has been denied by the Supreme Court and well after the deadline for en banc review by our court has passed--we violate the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and our own General Orders. We also ignore recent Supreme Court authority that has reversed us for doing the same thing in the past. No circuit is as routinely reversed for just this type of behavior. We ought to know better.Aside from the specific procedural question in this case is a deeper question. Congress passed a landmark law in 1996 for the specific purpose of a making capital punishment effective. One of the reforms was to crack down on successive petitions -- the filing of a new federal habeas petition after the first one has been denied. This was, initially, one of most effective reforms in the package. It was upheld by the Supreme Court with remarkable swiftness, two months after enactment of the law. See Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651 (1996). (CJLF filed an amicus brief. See footnote on p. 654.)
New Mexico's remaining death row inmates are asking the state's highest court to spare them from potential execution because lawmakers repealed capital punishment after they were sentenced to die by lethal injection.Months later would be good in comparison to Connecticut. That state's high court heard oral argument April 23, 2013 and has been sitting on it for over a year. CJLF filed an amicus brief in that case. (It's only 10 pages because that is all Connecticut rules allow for amici.)
Timothy Allen and Robert Fry contend their death sentences violate state and federal constitutional protections because New Mexico abolished capital punishment in 2009 for future murders but left it in place for them. Both men were convicted and sentenced to death for murders committed years before the repeal.
The state Supreme Court will hear arguments from lawyers on Oct. 1, but a decision by the five justices likely wouldn't be made until months later.
What explains the difference between the United States and the many other countries that have abolished capital punishment? Because the United States and many other nations that have abolished the death penalty are democracies, there seems to be an obvious answer: abolition or retention reflects the preferences of the electorate. According to this view, the U.S. electorate is simply more punitive, and the question becomes explaining the difference in national attitudes. There is some truth to this explanation. As I have argued elsewhere, the U.S. public generally does favor punitive criminal justice policies. But that cannot be the whole story. Other nations have abolished capital punishment despite widespread public support -- in many cases, support of more than 70 percent of the public at the time of abolition. In the United States, however, after the Supreme Court imposed a de facto moratorium on capital punishment in the early 1970s, strong public support led to its reintroduction in two-thirds of the states.
This paper explores the relationship between public opinion and the abolition or retention of the death penalty, comparing the U.S. experience to that of other nations (with a particular focus on Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada). Although the experience of each country includes distinctive elements, several common themes emerge. In each country, political elites led the abolition movement. The structure of the electoral process and the parliamentary party system, moreover, allowed legislators and other public officials a degree of insulation from popular opinion. The elites differed from their electorates in education, experience, and knowledge of the issue. Because of these differences, support for capital punishment was much lower among these elites than among the general public. In abolishing capital punishment, the elites acted in accordance with their own views, rather than those of the median voter or the general public. Some scholars have characterized this type of political behavior as the "elite leadership hypothesis." Additionally, international agreements and norms played a significant role in Europe, making abolition difficult to reverse once enacted and helping to persuade other nations to abolish capital punishment despite the existence of popular support. Finally, abolition (whether de jure or de facto) has had a tendency over time to reduce public support for capital punishment, thus diminishing popular pressure to reverse course
An autopsy on an Oklahoma inmate who died after his troubled execution was halted concluded that he was killed by the lethal drugs, but it doesn't explain why he writhed, moaned and clenched his teeth before he was pronounced dead about 43 minutes after the process began.This execution still counts as "botched," in my view, but it is the only one in years that does. We can't say with confidence that he was "under" from the beginning of the procedure, which we can with the others.