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

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…

Texas loses long battle to hide execution drug supplier

Texas' death chamber
A court has cleared the way for the disclosure of an execution drug supplier that the nation's busiest death penalty state has fought for years to keep under wraps

The Texas Supreme Court has cleared the way for the disclosure of an execution drug supplier that the nation's busiest death penalty state has fought for years to keep under wraps.

The decision Friday is expected to only identify the supplier Texas used in 2 2014 executions.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a measure into law the next year allowing the state to keep future supplier records secret.

Republicans hold all seats on the Texas Supreme Court and issued no comment while keeping in place a lower ruling to reveal the supplier identity.

Attorney Maurie Levin sought the supplier name in 2014 on behalf of a death-row inmate. 

She called the decision a victory for transparency.

A federal judge ruled Thursday that Alabama must reveal details of its lethal injection procedure.

Source: Associated Press, June 2, 2018

Texas Supreme Court: state must reveal execution drug supplier

The Texas Supreme Court has dumped the state's appeal to hide where it buys execution drugs, forcing the state to reveal which pharmacy it bought from after years of fighting to keep the information secret. But it may make no difference.

The court ruled without comment Friday, backing a 2017 decision from the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals that found exemptions to the state's open records law cannot hide the pharmacy's identity. 

Prison officials have argued the information should remain secret to protect the drug suppliers from protests from death penalty opponents.

"They have been fighting tooth-and-nail about releasing information about their lethal injection drug supply from 4 years ago," Maurie Levin, one of the three plaintiff lawyers on the case, said about the state's fervent opposition. She said the ruling will effect naming the pharmacy that was used in 2014.

The ruling will have a limited effect, Levin said, because the Texas Legislature changed state law in 2015 to keep secret the names of pharmacies providing the state execution drugs.

Source: Houston Chronicle, June 2, 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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