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…

Louisiana: Attorney General refuses to represent Gov in federal death penalty challenge case

"I discovered the biggest obstacle to getting justice for our State's crime victims was neither the federal case nor the difficulty obtaining drugs: it has and continues to be your unwillingness to proceed with any executions". That's part of what the Louisiana Attorney General wrote in a letter sent to Governor John Bel Edwards Wednesday.

And it's the latest controversy brewing between the AG's Office and the Administration.

General Landry says the State has not carried out an execution since 2010 in part because of pending federal litigation, and according to Landry in part because Governor Edwards refuses to.

Now the A.G. says he'll no longer represent the Department of Corrections in the federal case at the center of the controversy.

Landry sent the Governor a letter telling him that his unwillingness to proceed with any executions is an obstacle in getting justice for the families of crime victims.

For years the A.G.'s Office has been representing the DOC in a federal case called Hoffman vs Jindal, in which the 3-drug execution procedure used by Louisiana is being challenged as unconstitutional.

Recently the DOC filed a motion in federal court voluntarily agreeing to stay and delay executions for another year according to Landry.

That prompted the letter, which reads in part,"In light of your Administration's latest decision to not pursue justice for victim's and their families and to unnecessarily tie the DOC's hands by ceding control to a federal court, I have directed DOJ attorneys to withdraw from further representing the DOC in this case. My decision does not come lightly or without exhaustive efforts to get your Administration to work with our team to bring our state's most monstrous criminals to justice."

The AG's Solicitor General, Liz Murrill filed the motion for the AG's removal, saying she believes the DOC is refusing to move forward with executions at the direction of the Administration.

"The litigation provides an excuse for the Administration to not move forward, just like we saw this week when you go into a federal court and voluntarily agree to a stay that lasts an entire year again, again, and again and you say you can't do it because of a federal court order, you've created a self fulfilling order," said Liz Murrill, the Solicitor General.

The A.G.has asked Governor Edwards to change his position.

But Governor Edwards calls the AG's actions "political grandstanding", and writes " In the one year since the state last requested a stay, which the Attorney General signed on and supported at the time, nothing has changed - the drugs are not available and legislation has not passed to address concerns of drug companies or offer alternative forms of execution.

The Governor's reaction contradicts the AG's initial claim that his office has attempted numerous times to work with Governor Edwards and the DOC in order to find a solution to the legal hurdles.

Landry says his office's research indicates the DOC already has the capacity to use a singe-drug called Pentobarbital, which is the same drug used in Texas.

Source: brproud.com, Fred Childers, July 19, 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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