Tag: lethal injection

Pharmacists Cut Off Supply of Lethal Injection Drugs

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

For the last couple of years pharmaceutical companies have been refusing to supply states with the drugs needed for lethal injection executions. Some of the states got creative and turned to compounding pharmacies for their supply of pentobarbital but the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists has come out with a statement discouraging members from helping states carry out executions. Then  American Pharmacists Association adopted the same policy

The policy states: “The American Pharmacists Association discourages pharmacist participation in executions on the basis that such activities are fundamentally contrary to the role of pharmacists as providers of health care.”

APhA Executive Vice President and CEO, Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA, stated, “Pharmacists are health care providers and pharmacist participation in executions conflicts with the profession’s role on the patient health care team. This new policy aligns APhA with the execution policies of other major health care associations including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Board of Anesthesiology.

BREAKING: California Lethal Injection Protocol Invalidated

Great news.  A California Court of Appeal has invalidated California’s lethal injection protocol because the state failed to comply with the state’s Administrative Procedure Act.  The decision(pdf format) in Morales v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, holds that the State’ lethal injection protocol, “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAN QUENTIN OPERATIONAL PROCEDURE NUMBER 0-770 EXECUTION BY LETHAL INJECTION, is invalid and it enjoins California “from carrying out the lethal injection of any condemned inmates under OP 770 unless and until that protocol is promulgated in compliance with the APA.”

The more than 660 prisoners on California’s death row should briefly sigh some relief.  There is little doubt that the regulation will be re-enacted, but the struggle against state killing in California goes on, and today’s ruling is a great victory.

The Mercury News reports:

A state appeals court on Friday ensured further delays in California’s already inert death penalty system, finding that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration did not follow proper procedures when it attempted to revise the state’s lethal injection method to get executions back on track.

In a 14-page ruling, the San Francisco-based 1st District Court of Appeal upheld last year’s decision by a Marin County judge, who found state officials failed to provide public scrutiny of plans to overhaul California’s execution method. The appeals court ruling, if it stands, would force the state to go back to the drawing board in its efforts to bring the execution system into compliance with a federal judge’s concerns that the current method is unconstitutional.

The appeals court ruling will have a ripple effect on California’s bogged down capital punishment system. A broader legal challenge in federal court to California’s lethal injection method cannot move forward until the state comes up with a revised procedure, and that is now tied up further as a result of the appeals court’s findings.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Ronald Matthias, who supervises the state’s death penalty cases, was still reviewing the decision and could not predict the next step. But the state can either appeal to the California Supreme Court or move forward with public review of the proposed lethal injection reforms, and either process would take months or longer.

Executions in California have been on hold for more than 3 years because of challenges to the state’s lethal injection protocols.  The 2006 Judge Fogel stopped all California executions, but provided a number of steps state officials could take to ensure that executions were carried out humanely. The governor then ordered state prison officials to come up with a new plan.  The plan called for improved training and supervision of execution team members, as well as the construction of a new, modernized execution chamber. But plan was challenged in state court under the argument it violated state procedures that require public review, and Fogel put the federal case on hold until that issue was resolved.

Is the issue resolved now?  No.  The state can either try to adopt a new protocol, following the law, or it can appeal.  Either way, state killing cannot resume until the issues are resolved.

I applaud today’s ruling, and I compliment all of the people who have worked so diligently to stop state killing in California.

State Killing Recommences In Georgia

This disgusting, barbarous event will be overlooked in the news about the primaries in Indiana and North Carolina.  

This evening Georgia resumed killing its prisoners by lethal injection.  William Earl Lynd has been executed. This is the 1100th execution in the modern era and the first following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Baze v. Rees, upholding Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol.  It has been almost 8 months since a state killed a prisoner. This is longest amount of time between executions since at least the early nineties.

Convicted Georgia prisoner William Earl Lynd was executed Tuesday, the first inmate to be put to death since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted its nationwide ban on executions.

Lynd was pronounced dead at 7:51 pm at the Diagnostic and Classification prison in Jackson, Georgia as anti-death penalty activists stood in quiet protest outside.

According to prison officials, Lynd had been “somber all day,” and had requested a mild sedative before being lead to the death chamber.

Lynd had been convicted for the 1988 kidnapping and murder of live-in girlfriend Ginger Moore.


The crime was an extremely brutal one, and Lynd waited on death row for almost 20 years to be killed while he appealed.

Tonight, almost 2 decades later, Georgia executed him by lethal injection.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that “he was the 41st man Georgia has executed since 1983, the 19th by lethal injection.”  He was 53 years old.

Barbarism and revenge killing have returned to the US.  I want it to be understood that William Earl Lynd was not killed in my name.  I detest killing.  I detest Lynd’s killing his victim.  My heart goes out to the victim, her family, Lynd, Lynd’s family, the lawyers who defended and prosecuted him, the jurors who deliberated his case, the judges who ruled at his trial and appeals, those who wrote and those who read the newspaper coverage of the crime and the trial and the execution, in fact, everyone who had knowledge of this case or any contact with it.  How can we live with ourselves when to revenge a killing, we permit our government to kill?  

Mahatama Gandhi correctly identified the issue. “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”

Supreme Court Upholds Lethal Injection

In a 7-2 decision today the US Supreme Court upheld Kentucky’s method of execution by lethal injection.  This will permit Kentucky to resume executions. And, worse, it will end the unofficial moratorium in the 35 other states that use lethal injections in their executions.

The decision is here.  It’s long. And it is not uplifting.

Justice Stevens concurred but wrote that he now believes capital punishment itself is unconstitutional.  It’s about time.  Only Justices Ginsberg and Souter dissented.  There were seven votes to permit the killing to continue.

This is awful news for the hundreds of prisoners facing execution on death rows across America.

This isn’t much of an essay.  I’m disgusted.  I feel gullible to have believed that the death penalty would be abolished by the Supreme Court because of the means the state uses to exterminate its prisoners. This, at best, seemed to me to be a nice flanking attack, but hardly one we could expect to end a barbaric practice that was created by legislative action and has been practiced since before the Constitution itself.  

At the very most, those who battle against this barbarism and fight for abolition have been given a slight breather, a chance to catch their breath.  The battle now resumes.  Again.  Every death penalty case has to be fought and fought hard.  Every state where abolition can be won in the legislature needs to be organized.  Every organization that funds anti death penalty litigation and organizing needs to receive your funds.  We all need to add our voices to the call to abolish the death penalty in all cases.

I’d like to think that the 7 months we’ve had of de facto moratorium have taught us one important thing.  We can live without the death penalty.


Nebraska Court Bans Electric Chair

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


Nebraska’s Electric Chair

I’m cheering and applauding.  Nebraska’s Supreme Court has dragged the state kicking and screaming into the 21st Century by forbidding the state, as a matter of State Constitutional Law, from using the electric chair to kill prisoners sentenced to death.  Because electrocution was the only means of execution in the Nebraska statute, the state has reluctantly now joined the nationwide de facto stay on state executions.

Join me in stir.

Is 2007 The Beginning Of The End Of The Death Penalty?


As 2007 draws to a close, it’s again time for the annual data about executions in the US.  From my abolitionist’s perspective, this year’s statistics are better than last year’s and are trending in the right direction.  But the numbers are especially troubling because they show a concentration of state killing and a continued enthusiasm for it in Texas.

Join me across the wall for the 2007 wrap up.