Lethal Injection

Un castigo cruel e injustificable

Editorial de El Nuevo Día

21-Diciembre-2006  

La despiadada crueldad de la pena capital se sintió con todo su injusto rigor en la persona del puertorriqueño Ángel Nieves Díaz la semana pasada en el estado de Florida.  

New York Times Article: Alternatives to Lethal Injection

From The New York Times (June 23, 2006)
(http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/23/us/23inject.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)

Doctors See Way to Cut Suffering in Executions   By DENISE GRADY  

A flood of lawsuits challenging lethal injection as cruel and unusual has stalled executions in some states and may prompt others to

Federal Judges Cite Arbitrariness in Stays and Executions Around Lethal Injection

martinFive federal judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit dissented from the Court's denial of a stay of execution to Sedley Alley in Tennessee. (Alley was subsequently granted a stay by the governor on other grounds.) Judge Boyce Martin, writing for the dissenting judges, noted that many inmates around the country were being granted stays of execution after filing challenges to the lethal injection process. Others raising the same claims have been denied stays and have been executed, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case related to this issue (Hill v. McDonough).

Excerpts from Judge Martin's opinion follow:

Human Rights Watch Report on Lethal Injection

hrw

A new report issued by Human Rights Watch notes that most U.S. states use execution methods that needlessly risk excruciating pain for inmates subjected to lethal injections. The report examines the history of lethal injections and the widespread use of protocols that were created three decades ago with no scientific research.

Excerpts from the report:

Although supporters of lethal injection believe the prisoner dies painlessly, there is mounting evidence that prisoners may have experienced excruciating pain during their executions. This should not be surprising given that corrections agencies have not taken the steps necessary to ensure a painless execution. They use a sequence of drugs and a method of administration that were created with minimal expertise and little deliberation three decades ago, and that were then adopted unquestioningly by state officials with no medical or scientific background. Little has changed since then. As a result, prisoners in the United States are executed by means that the American Veterinary Medical Association regards as too cruel to use on dogs and cats. (Executive Summary).

Although supporters of lethal injection believe the prisoner dies painlessly, there is mounting evidence that prisoners may have experienced excruciating pain during their executions. This should not be surprising given that corrections agencies have not taken the steps necessary to ensure a painless execution. They use a sequence of drugs and a method of administration that were created with minimal expertise and little deliberation three decades ago, and that were then adopted unquestioningly by state officials with no medical or scientific background. Little has changed since then. As a result, prisoners in the United States are executed by means that the American Veterinary Medical Association regards as too cruel to use on dogs and cats. (Part IV, footnotes omitted).

Lethal Injection

The Faces of Wrongful Conviction
Conference at UCLA
April 7-9, 2006


California indefinitely postponed the execution of Michael Morales because of questions about the lethal injection process. Morales had been scheduled for execution on February 21, but a federal judge ordered that the state protocols be changed in response to a legal challenge filed by Morales' attorneys. Judge Fogel ordered that the state provide better assurances that the process would not constitute cruel and unusual punishment by either providing an anesthesiologist to monitor the inmate's state of consciousness during the execution, or that the state use only barbiturates in carrying out the execution. The state elected to provide an anesthesiologist, but just before the execution, the doctors who had agreed to be part of the process backed out because they could not ethically participate in the execution.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe's Letter to John Romine, M.D., urging the immediate suspension of Dr. Fred Pintz's license to practice medicine because of his involvement in an upcoming execution

Dr. Wolfe's letter PUBLIC CITIZEN
November 2, 2001
Urgent: Immediate Attention

John Romine, MD
President, New Mexico State Board of Medical Examiners
2nd Floor, Lamy Bldg.
491 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

Dear Dr. Romine,

I have learned from several sources that Dr. Fred Pintz, the Chief Medical Officer of the State of New Mexico, has flagrantly violated a principle implicit in the New Mexico Medical Practice Act by providing authorization for the acquisition and provision of the drugs to be used by the New Mexico Department

In the Busiest Death Chamber, Duty Carries Its Own Burdens

In the Busiest Death Chamber, Duty Carries Its Own Burdens NEW YORK TIMES

December 17, 2000

In the Busiest Death Chamber, Duty Carries Its Own Burdens
By SARA RIMER

HUNTSVILLE, Tex., Dec. 10 - Jim Willett, the warden of the prison here, awakened a little before 5 a.m. on Tuesday in his home, which his wife, Janice, had decorated for Christmas. He had not been looking forward to the day.

"My first thought was, 'Today's an execution,'" he recalled later that morning. "'I wonder what he'll be like.'"

Botched Executions

Post-Furman Botched Executions by Michael L. Radelet, University of Florida

1.  August 10, 1982.  Virginia.  Frank J. Coppola.  Electrocution.  Although no media representatives witnessed the execution and no details were ever released by the Virginia Department of Corrections, an attorney who was present later stated that it took two 55-second jolts of electricity to kill Coppola.  The second jolt produced the odor and sizzling sound of burning flesh, and Coppola's head and leg caught on fire.  Smoke filled the death chamber from floor to ceiling with

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