FEATURED POST

Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Image
Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Tennessee lethal injection trial continues with dueling experts

The Tennessee Supreme Court says the death penalty is constitutional, so there must be a constitutional way to carry it out. But attorneys for 33 death row inmates say lethal injection isn't one of them.

In a trial that began July 7, the inmates' attorneys have been trying to prove the injection of deadly chemicals into a prisoner's veins carries an unacceptably high risk of extreme suffering and can cause a lingering death.

The case comes just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Oklahoma's lethal injection procedure, which uses different drugs than Tennessee but considered some of the same broad issues.

Inmates' attorneys say the claim of lingering death is a novel one. It is based on the theory that an overdose of sedatives can put inmates into a death-like coma without truly killing them for hours.

One witness who is an expert in resuscitation told the Davidson County Chancery Court it might be possible to revive an inmate who had been declared dead half an hour later or more. Another witness who is an expert in anesthesiology suggested that an inmate could recover spontaneously.

Attorneys for the state say the idea of spontaneous recovery is pure speculation, and that there is no chance an inmate will be resuscitated once an execution has started. They say the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled inmates are not entitled to pain-free death. Nonetheless, they say that is what lethal injection generally provides.

Dr. Feng Li, Davidson County's acting chief medical examiner, offered testimony that a high dose of the sedative pentobarbital - Tennessee's current lethal injection drug - would leave a prisoner unconscious within seconds and dead within minutes. Once the inmate was unconscious, he or she would not feel any pain, Li said.

Experts for the two sides also have clashed over whether drugs made to order by a pharmacist are too risky to use. The only commercial producer of pentobarbital has placed restrictions on its distribution to prevent it from being used in executions.

The trial will continue on Aug. 3.

Tennessee has not executed an inmate for more than five years because of legal challenges and problems obtaining lethal injection drugs. In 2013 and 2014, state lawmakers tried to jump-start the process by moving from a 3-drug lethal injection method to a 1-drug method and reinstating the electric chair as a backup. But both of those changes brought new legal challenges, and all previously scheduled executions have been put on hold.

Faced with similar problems, Oklahoma enacted a law allowing execution by nitrogen gas as a backup to lethal injection. Utah reinstated the firing squad.

Source: Associated Press, July 27, 2015

Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Texas: Montgomery County DA asks governor to stay Anthony Shore's execution

Texas court halts execution to review claims that co-defendant lied at trial

Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Alabama executes Torrey Twane McNabb

Hours before execution, Tourniquet Killer granted 90-day stay at DA's request

The Execution Dock in London was used for more than 400 years to execute pirates, smugglers & mutineers

Justices Won’t Review Florida Death-Penalty Cases

Execution stayed for Alabama man convicted of killing cop

More drug dealers to be shot dead: Indonesia's National Narcotics Agency chief

Driver Of Deadly Immigrant Smuggling Run Avoids Death Penalty With Guilty Plea