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Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

U.S.: Upcoming executions demonstrate unlawful nature of death penalty

NEW YORK — Three executions set for this week all demonstrate the irreparable failings of the death penalty, experts from Amnesty International USA said today.

“Three states are set to put prisoners to death this week, and every single one of these cases raises disturbing questions about the fairness of the legal proceedings that put them on death row,” said Kristina Roth, senior program officer for criminal justice programs at Amnesty International USA. “These cases show that there is no justifiable way for the state to put a prisoner to death. The death penalty system is irrevocably broken and should be done away with for good.”

Prisoners scheduled for execution this week are

Patrick Hannon, who has been on death row in Florida for over 26 years, or more than half of his life. Hannon’s co-defendants received lighter sentences due in part to what two Florida Supreme Court judges attributed to ineffective counsel. 

Hannon is scheduled to be put to death on November 8;

Ruben Cárdenas Ramírez is a Mexican national who was denied consular assistance as was his right under the law and interrogated without counsel for days despite asking for a lawyer. He has also been denied requests for DNA testing that could exonerate him. 

He is scheduled to be put to death in Texas on November 8 as well.

Jack Greene’s execution was scheduled this August when the state of Arkansas was able to obtain fresh supplies of the lethal injection drug midazolam. His would be the first execution since the state sought to execute eight prisoners in 11 days this past spring before the last supply of the drug expired, resulting in four executions taking place. Greene has been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder and his lawyers say he is not competent enough to know why he is being put to death.

Source: Amnesty International USA, November 7, 2017


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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