FEATURED POST

In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

Image
To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

Arizona Wants To Speed Up A Death Penalty Case Because Its Drugs Are Expiring

Arizona's supply of midazolam expires at the end of May. The state is hoping that a challenge brought by death row inmates can be wrapped up with enough time to carry out the executions.

Arizona is trying to carry out more executions after a brief moratorium brought about after the state carried out the longest execution in American history.

In that execution, Joseph Wood took nearly two hours to die, and witnesses reported him gasping during that time.

After the state commissioned a review, U.S. District Judge Neil Wake is allowing a lawsuit brought by five death row inmates challenging the state's new methods to go forward.

The problem for Arizona: They need the case to wrap up soon because their sedative expires at the end of May.

At a status hearing on Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Sparks said the state was having problems getting more.

The judge seemed receptive to speeding up the case, saying he would be "expecting accelerated discovery."

As of yet, the inmates haven't even filed their new complaint yet - but summarized it at the hearing as asking for more transparency and asking that the 2nd drug be removed.

The 2nd drug in a 3-drug protocol is a paralytic, and is used to cover any movement or twitching by the inmate. The inmates seem prepared to argue that it's a "cosmetic" drug used only to mask any pain the inmate may be feeling due to the other drugs.

The inmates' attorneys were only informed of the drug's expiration date on the day of the status hearing, and said the case shouldn't be in "crisis litigation" to meet the May deadline.

5 inmates brought the lawsuit, and the case would have to wrap up fairly quickly for the state to be able to execute all 5 of the inmates. Executions take considerable amounts of planning, and as a result, states try to space out when they occur.

In Oklahoma, for example, when the state had a 43-minute botched execution in 2014, officials and executioners there blamed scheduling 2 executions for 1 day as a big reason why things went wrong.

The state didn't offer a date to the judge on when the case would have to be wrapped up to carry out the executions, and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich's office didn't respond to a request when asked by BuzzFeed News.

The shortest time frame the state has carried out 5 executions was in 2012. But in that case, the 5 executions took place over a span of 5 1/2 months.

Source: BuzzFeed News, January 15, 2016

- Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com - Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Convicted killer from infamous “Texas 7” prison escape gets execution date

Nebraska seeks July 10 date for state's 1st execution since 1997

Malaysian court sentences Australian grandmother to death by hanging

Post Mortem – the execution of Edward Earl Johnson

Ohio: Lawyers seek review of death sentence for 23-year-old Clayton man

Texas man on death row for decapitating 3 kids loses appeal

Amnesty International Once Again Highlights Shocking Justice System in Iran

Botswana resumes executions, hangs death row inmate

Maria Exposto: Can she avoid execution?

In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning