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In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

Judge delays release of Alabama's lethal injection documents

Alabama's death row
Alabama won't reveal its lethal injection protocol until a higher court reviews that decision.

Court records entered Thursday show U.S. Chief District Judge Karon O Bowdre has granted a motion from the Alabama Attorney General's Office to stay her previous ruling, which ordered the state to reveal execution secrets, until a higher court can review the state's appeal.

The AG's office has appealed the ruling to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. A motion from the AG's office requesting the stay says they would like the release to be delayed because the release of execution protocol "implicates a serious issue that deserves the review of a higher court before it becomes effective."

"...while this Court found that there exists a public interest in understanding how Alabama carries out its lethal-injection procedure... there is a greater public interest at stake here: The State's ability to carry out its lawful functions."

The motion says, "There is no doubt that there is great public interest in ensuring that the State can carry out its duly enacted laws. Alabama's death-penalty statutes are constitutional and enforceable and anything that hinders the State's ability to enforce that statute (even minimally) is of great public interest and, thus, weighs in favor of granting a stay pending appeal."

The motion also says the media outlets who requested the protocol be made public--Alabama Media Group, the Associated Press, and the Montgomery Advertiser--will not suffer from the documents being sealed until the appeal process takes place.

The judge's order to unseal the Alabama Department of Corrections' capital punishment protocol was entered last month. She wrote the public has a "common law right of access" to the sealed records relating how the state executes death row inmates. The judge said any identification or names of low-level prison employees involved in executions, the court's independent medical examiner, and other confidential security measures can be kept secret.

The order stems from the case of Doyle Lee Hamm, a 61-year-old death row inmate who experienced an aborted execution on February 22. The execution was called off after several hours of attempting to insert a catheter for the lethal drugs in Hamm's veins, and Hamm's lawyer Bernard Harcourt said then that Hamm experienced severe pain and bleeding during the attempt.

He had argued Hamm could not be executed via intravenous lethal injection because of Hamm's lymphatic cancer and prior drug use. The AG's Office said Hamm's veins would be accessible for the procedure.

Source: al.com, June 7, 2018


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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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