FEATURED POST

Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

Image
In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Virginia lawmakers return to take up death penalty, ethics law

Virginia's electric chair
Virginia's electric chair
Virginia lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol this week to debate how the state should put inmates to death, how it should structure a new economic development initiative, and whether the Old Dominion should tweak its new ethics laws.

Wednesday is the so-called veto session, where legislators return to Richmond for a day to consider Gov. Terry McAuliffe's vetoes and amendments to legislation passed earlier this year.

Among the most watched moves by the Democratic governor is his proposal to shield the identities of companies that supply lethal-injection drugs for executions. 

Virginia has struggled to obtain the drugs necessary for lethal injections and the GOP-controlled General Assembly passed legislation earlier this year that would force inmates to die in the electric chair if there are no available drugs.

McAuliffe said drug manufacturers won't provide Virginia the drugs necessary without the secrecy provision and has vowed to veto the legislation if lawmakers insist on the contentious electric-chair provision. The governor said lawmakers need to agree to his proposed changes if they keep the death penalty.

"If they pass up that opportunity, they will bring the death penalty to an end here in Virginia," he said last week.

The governor's amendment would give Virginia's Department of Corrections the authority to compound its own execution drugs using products from pharmacies whose identities would remain confidential. 

Virginia is one of at least eight states that allow electrocutions, but currently gives inmates the choice of lethal injection or the electric chair.

Republican leaders have not yet signaled how they'll respond to any of McAuliffe's proposed amendments. If they reject amendments, McAuliffe can veto the legislation.

McAuliffe also vetoed 32 pieces of legislation this year, mostly related to social issues like abortion, gun control and gay rights. Republicans will need a 2/3 vote in both chambers to override a veto, and are unlikely to get enough votes in the near evenly split state Senate.

Source: fredericksburg.com, April 18, 2016


Religious coalition urges rejection of execution bill

A coalition of several hundred religious leaders is urging Virginia lawmakers to reject a proposal to conceal the identities of pharmacies supplying drugs to be used in executions.

Several representatives of the interfaith coalition are scheduled to discuss their objections at a news conference Monday at the General Assembly Building in Richmond.

Lethal injection drugs have been hard to obtain in Virginia and other states. That situation prompted Del. Jackson Miller to propose allowing Virginia to use the electric chair if drugs aren't available.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe stripped the electric chair provision and replaced it with one allowing the state to obtain the drugs from pharmacies whose identities would be kept confidential to protect them from critics. The religious coalition says the secrecy amendment would improperly shield pharmacies from accountability.

Source: Associated Press, April 18, 2016

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

Most Viewed (Last 30 Days)

Idaho County commissioners take stand against death penalty

Harris County leads Texas in life without parole sentences as death penalty recedes

Texas: Reginald Blanton executed

China sentences ten to death in front of cheering crowd of thousands

30-year-old Chinese inmate bids farewell to daughter, wife and mother before execution

USA: Executions, Death Sentences Up Slightly in 2017

Indonesian death penalty laws to be softened to allow reformed prisoners to avoid execution

Japan hangs 2 inmates; first executions since July

Death penalty cases of 2017 featured botched executions, claims of innocence, 'flawed' evidence

Virginia Governor commutes death sentence of killer found mentally incompetent to be executed