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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Nevada schedules what could be 1st execution in a decade, but has no drugs to carry it out

Nevada's brand new $850,000 death chamber
Nevada's brand new $850,000 death chamber
Nevada has a problem on its hands after a Clark County judge ordered an inmate executed: the state has no apparent way to carry it out.

District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti signed an order Thursday ordering Scott Raymond Dozier's execution for the week of Oct. 16. Dozier, 46, has voluntarily given up opportunities to appeal his decade-old death sentence and has repeatedly requested to die.

He was convicted in 2007 of robbing and killing a 22-year-old man at a Las Vegas hotel before dismembering the body. He was also convicted of another murder in Arizona.

Although the state has about 80 people on death row, most die in prison, and a volunteer is rare. Nevada hasn't had an execution since 2006, and only carried out 12 executions since 1977.

The state is required by law to use a lethal injection, but a drug needed to create the lethal injection cocktail has expired. Nevada found none of the 247 vendors it contacted last year were willing to replace it.

Numerous major pharmaceutical companies have refused to supply drugs that they know will be used for execution. This spring, Nevada Department of Corrections Director James Dzurenda suggested the agency might procure drugs from other states that don't anticipate using them.

On Thursday, the agency was unable to provide details on how they would proceed beyond a short statement.

"The Department is seeking guidance from the Attorney General's Office and will follow all appropriate and legal protocol to ensure state law is followed," it said.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt's office didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

Nationwide, difficulties with the drug supply have prompted states to take drastic, controversial measures with the death penalty. 

Officials in Arkansas scheduled 8 executions in 11 days this spring in a race against the expiration dates of their lethal injection drugs, although only 4 were carried out.

Source: The Nevada Independent, July 29, 2017

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