FEATURED POST

California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

Image
California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Drugs will expire before court ruling on Nevada execution

Fentanyl
Some drugs obtained for the first lethal injection in Nevada since 2006 will expire before the state Supreme Court decides whether to approve their use, officials said Friday.

The sedative diazepam that the state has expires May 1, and Nevada Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Santina said the agency may not be able to get more.

"In 2016, we sent out a bid to 247 vendors to provide us the drugs to carry out an execution in Nevada," Santina said. "We received not one response."

The state last year obtained diazepam, commonly known as Valium, along with supplies of fentanyl, the powerful opioid painkiller and the muscle paralytic drug cisatracurium from its regular pharmaceutical distributor, Cardinal Health.

The high court this week set a May 8 date for oral arguments about whether prison officials can use the never-before-tried 3-drug mixture for the execution of Scott Raymond Dozier.

The 47-year-old twice-convicted murderer has said he wants to die and doesn't really care if the process is painful.

Oral arguments will come five months after Nevada prison officials and the state attorney general asked for a fast-track review, saying the drugs would expire.

The 7 justices are not expected to make an immediate decision, court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer said. Most rulings take several months - putting even more of the state supply of lethal injection drugs at risk.

Batches of cisatracurium, the disputed drug at the center of the Supreme Court case, begin expiring April 1, Santina said.

The last batch expires Nov. 30. But the supply of the paralytic is due to drop Aug. 31 below the amount called-for in the lethal injection procedure, or protocol, drawn up last year by state prison and health officials.

That protocol has the paralytic administered last, to prevent muscle movement and ensure that breathing stops, after high doses of diazepam and then fentanyl, the synthetic opioid blamed for overdose deaths nationwide.

Fentanyl in the state prisons supply expires in June 2021, Santina said.

The Supreme Court challenge comes from federal public defenders who argue that Dozier could be "awake and aware" for several minutes while suffering and suffocating to death.

Dozier's scheduled execution was called off last November after state court Judge Jennifer Togliatti in Las Vegas decided prison officials could use the 1st 2 drugs, which an expert medical witness testified would probably be enough to cause death.

Togliatti balked at the paralytic, citing concerns that its effect would "mask" or prevent witnesses from seeing indications of pain if Dozier suffers.

Nevada is among U.S. states that have struggled in recent years to find drugs after pharmaceutical companies and distributors banned their use in executions.

It was not clear if the Cardinal Health knew the intended use of the drugs it supplied to Nevada. The state last year refused pharmaceutical company Pfizer's demand to return the diazepam and fentanyl it manufactured.

While diazepam is offered in pill form to condemned inmates ahead of executions in some states, none of the 3 drugs that Nevada proposes to use has been used for injection executions in the 31 states with capital punishment, according to the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center.

Source: Associated Press, March 30, 2018


⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!



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

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Georgia parole board spares Jimmy Meders' life just six hours before he was set to be executed

Iran: Eight Men Hanged on the First Day of the New Year

Execution caught on video in Saudi

Texas executes John Gardner

Singapore | Malaysian human rights group alleges “brutal, unlawful” state execution process in Changi Prison

Florida: Mascotte killer cop’s death penalty appeal denied

Texas to carry out nation's first execution of 2020 for domestic violence slaying in Collin County

Texas: John Steven Gardner scheduled to be executed on January 15

Nirbhaya convicts won’t be hanged on Jan 22 as mercy plea filed: Delhi govt to HC

Execution set for Georgia man convicted of double murder