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California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

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California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Legal issues arise over Tennessee's death penalty drug

Legal issues over Tennessee's lethal injection drugs may cause delays on death row.

The state's supply of lethal injection drug sodium thiopental has been seized by the federal government.

Tennessee, like other states, had to turn over its stock of the drug because of allegations it may have been obtained illegally from an unregulated overseas provider.

The drug is used to sedate the inmate.

Other states have started using pentobarbital, which is commonly used in animal euthanasia.

Tennessee's Department of Corrections has said it would consider the drug.

3 Hamilton County inmates are on death row.

Harold Nichols was sentenced in May 1990 for the rape and murder of 21-year-old Karen Pulley.

Leroy Hall was sentenced in March 1992 for 1st degree murder.

And Marlon Kiser was sentenced in November 2003 for the death of Hamilton County deputy Donald Bond.

Source: WRCB News, April 25, 2011
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