FEATURED POST

Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

Image
Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother's house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for 2 murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on 2 bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother's home. In his powerful new memoir, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction. He also writes about the unique and unexpected bonds that can form on death row, and in particular about his relationship with Henry Hays, a former Klansman sentenced to death for a notorious lynching in 1981. Hays died in the electric chair in 1997 - 1 of 54 people executed in Alabama while Hinton was on death row.
After almost 30 years, Hinton was finally exonerated in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. On April 27…

South Carolina bill would conceal lethal injection drug suppliers

South Carolina death chamber
South Carolina death chamber
South Carolina lawmakers are looking for a compromise in a bill that would render information about lethal injection drugs a secret, a change that may enable the state to resume executions.

The state uses a 3 drug protocol: pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride. The corrections agency does not have the first 2 drugs and has not been able to acquire them.

Officials believe S.553, which would conceal details of the drug procurement process, would make it easier for the state to acquire execution drugs. But on Thursday a Senate committee held up the legislation without debating it, citing a need address the differences with the parties involved.

Mandy Medlock, executive director of Justice 360, which opposes the bill, said the committee's lack of approval on Thursday, if only temporary, was a positive step.

She was less hopeful about the prospect of finding common ground.

"We're interested in what everybody has to say, but it's a very black and white issue. Either it's a secret or it's not," said Medlock.

After S.C. Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling became the agency director in the fall of 2013, he was told the execution drugs had recently expired and that no companies would sell them to the agency. The department is required to carry out the sentence of the court and has no position on the death penalty.

Stirling said opponents have been "very successful" at obtaining information through open records laws and other legal means about the companies that supply the drugs. Activists then contact the companies on the issue, resulting in manufacturers refusing to sell specific drugs to corrections departments across the country.

S. 553 would help South Carolina officials respond.

"This would give us something that we can go to the companies and say, 'Here is your protection. They will not target you,'" Stirling said in an interview Thursday. "It's basically expanding the execution team, and saying the people that supply the drugs would be protected, also, along with the current execution team."

If the bill does not pass, the agency chief said, "We'll do everything we can to seek these drugs, but we're running into road block after roadblock."

Laura Hudson, executive director of the S.C. Crime Victims' Council, was dismayed by Thursday's lack of progress on S.553.

"A crime victim would never want the wrong person accused, much less put to death. But the longer you delay it, (invokes) that old statement of 'justice delayed is justice denied,'" she said.

"You have to wait years and years and years and years before someone is finally put to death. The opposition (to S.553) is just another delay to not do the death penalty. We have the death penalty in this state. Exercise it."

Medlock said the extra week or so would allow lawmakers' constituents to engage in the debate.

"The fact that it has been delayed gives us more time to let the public know that this is going on," she said. "The public can contact the senators to let them know how they feel about it. ... Some people might be in favor of the bill, but I think in general, folks are against the idea of the government keeping secrets form us."

The organization argues that keeping lethal injection drugs secret would result in a greater risk of botched executions, and that information needed for any investigation would be hidden. Additionally, it says S.553 would give special secret status to drug companies, stifling scrutiny and public debate.

Justice 360 represents death row inmates and advocates for specific reforms aimed at addressing systemic flaws in the capital punishment process.

The death penalty in South Carolina:
  • No inmates were added and four were removed from South Carolina's death row, with no executions, in 2015.
  • At the end of 2015, there were 44 men and no women awaiting execution.
  • The last execution in South Carolina was in 2011 when Jeffrey Motts dropped his appeals. He had strangled his cellmate while serving life sentences for murdering 2 relatives.
  • Current death row inmates by race: 59 % black, 39 % white, 2 % Hispanic.

[source: Death Penalty Resource and Defense Center]

Source: blufftontoday.com, Feb. 19, 2016

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

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

After 21 Years on Death Row, Darlie Routier Still Says She's Innocent of Murdering Her Young Sons

Florida seeks death penalty for Miami mom whose baby died from scalding bath

Oklahoma: Death row inmate in Tulsa bank teller's murder found dead at state penitentiary

Alabama prison system sees steep rise in suicides

Texas: White supremacist gang members sentenced to death for killing fellow supremacist inmate

Kentucky Supreme Court rules death penalty IQ law is unconstitutional

Iran: Six executions in one day

California: Jury recommends death penalty for serial killer

Iran: Death sentence of Gonabadi Dervish Mohammad Salas carried out despite protests

Belarus: Unprecedented Supreme Court decision to suspend death sentences