Ex-death row inmate Anthony Porter angry, feels ‘cheated’ out of money


April 20, 2014

Anthony Porter is angry.

He’s come within hours of being executed after he was convicted of killing two people.

He was freed from Death Row after another man, Alstory Simon, confessed to the murders.

He got a pardon, but he didn’t get a dime when he sued the city and the cops for framing him.

And now, there’s a serious push to strip away what little Porter has left: his claim of innocence.

Attorneys pushing for Simon’s release from prison say the justice system got it right the first time — that the evidence points to Porter all along in the notorious double murder in 1982 at a South Side park.

Porters’ friends and supporters argue that a racist conspiracy is trying to rewrite history and make a victim, Porter, into a villain once again.

“Yeah, I’m innocent, man,” Porter said in an interview that was sometimes tense and combative.

“They keep on bringing the same old stuff up,” Porter told the Chicago Sun-Times, as he was surrounded by supporters.

“I ain’t got no peace of mind,” he said. “I’m suffering. I’m tired.”

The questions about Porter’s innocence have been coming up more frequently as the attorneys for Simon argue he was set up.

Those lawyers accuse Richard Devine, the Cook County state’s attorney at the time, of bowing to political pressure and accepting a guilty plea from Simon despite strong evidence pointing to Porter. Devine has said politics had nothing to do with his decision.

Last fall, Devine’s successor, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, agreed to review the circumstances of Simon’s confession and imprisonment.

And that makes Porter furious.

He and his supporters say the review of Simon’s case is part of a conspiracy to discredit the anti-death penalty movement that embraced Porter as a symbol of a broken justice system. Former Gov. George Ryan, who pardoned Porter, has said the case factored heavily in his decision to impose a moratorium on the death penalty.

“They’re trying to destroy me and Gov. Ryan at the same time,” Porter said.

Porter, 59, said he can’t walk on the street without people pointing at him because of the renewed questions about the murders of Jerry Hillard and Marilyn Green.

In an interview last week, Porter gave a rambling but impassioned defense of his innocence. A longtime supporter, Maurice Perkins, president of the Bronzeville-based Inner City Youth and Adult Foundation Inc., was at his side, helping him respond to questions because — Perkins said — of Porter’s low IQ. Tests have shown Porter has an IQ of 51, which was a factor in his getting “railroaded,” Perkins said.

Porter wore a beige suit and suede shoes during an interview in the historic Swift mansion at 45th and Michigan, the headquarters of the foundation.

The stress from the renewed questions about his innocence have made him sick, Porter said. He needs surgery for a gall bladder ailment, he said.

Porter also said he lost his former wife, two children and a grandchild in a fire in Alabama a few years ago.

He does odd jobs for the foundation and speaks to youth groups, but the stigma of the case prevents him from landing a full-time job, he said.

“They damaged my name. I’ve been cheated out of my money,” he said.

Porter did receive about $145,000 in restitution from Illinois in 2000, but in a court deposition, he said he didn’t keep much of it, spending a large chunk on a Lincoln Navigator SUV and giving money to churches and supporters.

And suing the city got him nothing.

Attorney Walter Jones, who represented the city in the lawsuit, said he supports the review of Simon’s murder case.

“I am like any ex-prosecutor,” Jones said. “I want the truth to come out. I certainly believe I heard the truth come out during the course of the trial. I never met the man, Alstory Simon. All I can tell you is the truth that came out in my trial always said: ‘It is Anthony Porter.’ ”

When Porter was sent to Death Row for the 1982 killings of the couple in the bleachers near a pool in Washington Park, he’d never accused the police of abusing him physically.

Now, he alleges he was tortured in the same way detectives working under former police Cmdr. Jon Burge allegedly coerced confessions from suspects.

“They beat me, stomped me,” Porter said. “They put a plastic bag over my head.”

Porter has never confessed to the murders, though, and has steadfastly denied being in Washington Park when the killings happened.

“I wasn’t in no park,” he angrily repeated last week.

Witnesses at his trial in 1983 said otherwise.

One of the prosecution witnesses, William Taylor, testified at the trial that he saw Porter pull the trigger. Taylor would later modify his testimony and say that while he saw Porter in the park, he did not see the actual murders.

Porter was convicted of the murders and of robbing a man of $2 at gunpoint at the pool just minutes before the shootings in the nearby bleachers.

But the convictions unraveled after Northwestern University professor David Protess, his journalism students and private investigator Paul Ciolino famously reinvestigated the case in 1998.

Ciolino went to Milwaukee and obtained a videotaped confession from Simon, a convicted robber.

Just two days after the explosive video was aired on TV, prosecutors released Porter.

But Simon’s attorneys, Terry Ekl and James Sotos, claim Simon was tricked into confessing. Ciolino played a videotape for Simon of an actor pretending to have witnessed Simon commit the murders.

Simon was sentenced to 37 years in prison. He’s eligible for parole in 2017.

In an interview, Porter insisted all of the witnesses against him have recanted their testimony.

Perkins said those witnesses made up stories about Porter because he was known as a bully in their neighborhood and they wanted to get rid of him.

Indeed, Porter’s lengthy rap sheet includes two other robbery convictions and a conviction for shooting a man in the head during an argument over a dog. The man survived with a graze wound.

Some of the witnesses to the 1982 double murder were threatened by police to identify Porter as the killer, Perkins claimed.

He said the witnesses later decided to tell the truth and recant their statements against Porter.

But several of those witnesses were recently interviewed for a feature-length documentary called “Porter” and have renewed their allegations against him.

The film, due to be released this summer, is directed by Shawn Rech, a Cleveland-area resident who produces the “Crime Stoppers Case Files” show. It’s partially funded by Chicago attorney Andy Hale, who represents police officers in lawsuits claiming misconduct.

In one interview in the documentary, reviewed by the Sun-Times, Taylor said: “I saw Anthony Porter run past down the bleachers right past me out of the south gate.”

“Anthony Porter, I still think in my heart, is guilty,” Taylor said.

Another witness, Kenneth Edwards, said: “I am positive that Anthony Porter killed those two people. I saw it with my own eyes.”

Edwards, now serving a prison term for murder, said he heard a “pow, pow.”

“I saw Porter, I saw Tony Porter, and I saw him do it,” he said.

In the documentary, Jacqueline Green, a sister of murder victim Marilyn Green, also suggests Porter was the culprit. “It makes me angry that a killer could be walking out free when they took someone’s life and changed my life forever,” she said.

Porter, though, said he remains on good terms with the Green family, and notes Marilyn Green’s mother believes Simon did it.

In a strange new twist to an already complex case, meanwhile, Porter and Perkins say they were both recently paid $500 “bribes” in return for Porter appearing on camera for the documentary.

Perkins said he and Porter were offered “thousands” more if Porter would confess.

Simon’s attorneys deny involvement in an offer to pay for Porter to confess.

Rech, the director of the documentary, acknowledges giving Porter and Perkins $500 each at Perkins’ request.

“We thought it would add authenticity to have the real guy [Porter] in the movie saying he didn’t do it,” Rech said.

But Rech denies he or anyone else in his project offered a bonus to Porter to confess.

Perkins insists that racist, pro-law enforcement motivations are driving the renewed questions of Porter’s innocence.

“You’re trying to rewrite history, man,” Perkins said.

Porter added: “I’m an innocent black man in Chicago.”

(suntimes.com)

Creating Monsters: How Solitary Confinement Hurts the Rest of Us


April 18, 2014

You need to watch only the first five minutes of Solitary Nation, the first of two Frontline documentaries that will air on PBS starting Tuesday. The inmates, corrections officers, and prison bureaucrats all appear stooped and burdened, tamped down, by the oppressive nature of the place in which they spend the bulk of their lives. That’s what prison is, of course, but Frontline captures something deeper here.

“This is what they create in here, monsters,” one inmate tells Frontline’s reporters. “You can’t conduct yourself like a human being when they treat you like an animal.”

“It’s like being buried alive,” another prisoner says off camera.

Now, every inmate in the history of the world likely has complained about the conditions of his confinement. But the point of the film, I think—and perhaps the best argument against the continued use of solitary—is that regardless of how inmates feel about it, there is no redeemable value to it to the rest of us.

Solitary confinement surely makes prisons safer—that’s the argument wardens use over and over again to justify its continued use. But it also creates or exacerbates mental illness in the men who are condemned to it. And that illness, in turn, pushes inmates in solitary to engage in harmful or self-harming conduct that, in turn, prompts a severe disciplinary response from prison officials.

That, in turn, causes the men to turn deeper into their own insanity. And then these broken men are released back into the world without adequate mental health treatment or “step down” services that will help reduce their chances of recidivism. It’s a cycle everyone recognizes but cannot seem to change. It’s madness upon madness.

Adam Brulotte, one of the inmates featured in the film, gets caught in this cycle. He’s a young man who says he wants to study for his GED so he can get a real job, instead of selling drugs, when he is released. Because he has broken the rules, he is placed in isolation. And because he is in isolation, he goes mad. And because he goes mad, he breaks more rules. The prison is safer but we see Brulotte broken before our eyes. If this young man is not treated now, how much will the rest of us pay when he is ultimately released?

You don’t have to sympathize with the inmates featured in this documentary to appreciate just how broken the prison system is today. Solitary Nation is a valuable addition to the growing body of work that slowly is pushing America away from this form of confinement. It shows the blood and the feces and the numbing foulness of solitary for humanizing both prisoner and guard, and it chronicles the ambiguities that exist in these cases (is the inmate truly mentally ill or just faking it?).

There are, however, a few critical elements missing from the documentary. Because the stage is set in Maine, I guess, there is virtually no reference to the oppressive racial component to solitary confinement (or to American prisons more generally). Almost every single one of the faces that appears on film is white. Perhaps this means that white viewers will more fully empathize with what they are seeing. But I’d love for the journalists who created Solitary Nation to undertake the same sort of project in a southern prison.

Nor is there any insight in the film into the enormous political and financial pressures that coalesce around prisons. Even progressive wardens like Rodney Bouffard in Maine, who comes off in the documentary as a reasonable man trying to make the best of a bad situation, must negotiate with officials of the guards’ union in order to effect changes that might impact prison security. And even the harshest wardens must beg for funds from state lawmakers. These dynamics drive prison policies. They are an inescapable part of the story.

Nor did the film even attempt to offer broad answers to the many questions that surround the use of solitary confinement today. Why are lawmakers continuing to endorse policies and practices that make men mad and then toss them out onto a largely unsuspecting society? Why is there political reluctance to provide adequate mental health care to inmates, even when there is such strong evidence that it saves money (and perhaps lives)? The film raises many smart and poignant questions but sadly does not answer them.

The next installment in this series, Prison State, will air the final week of April, and perhaps viewers will get some answers then. But of course if there were easy answers here, the scandal of solitary confinement would not exist today. When I watched Solitary Nation the first time, I brought to it all of the prison stories I have covered over the past few years. When I watched it a second time, with someone who has not been so immersed, I saw the dread creep up over his face. Good, I thought, it’s long past time that America saw the horror of all this.

It’s not just the immorality of the solitary confinement that shines through in this worthwhile film. It’s the futility of it. Frustration and despair hang over the characters the way that fetid, stagnant air hangs in the tiny, soulless cells that host the 80,000 or so men and women living and dying today in solitary confinement in America. Both captive and captor seem to understand, as they interact amid the blood and the shit and the anguish, that its use is not just inhumane but utterly self-defeating.

http://www.theatlantic.com

Oklahoma Justices Send Execution Case To Lower Court


April 18, 2014

Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner have sued the state seeking more information about the drugs that would be used to kill them.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court says it is not the place for death-row inmates to go if they want a stay of execution.

Justices said Thursday that the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals should take up stay requests from 2 inmates scheduled to die in the next 2 weeks. The appeals court had said previously it didn’t have the authority because the inmates hadn’t met all technical requirements under the law.

Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner have sued the state seeking more information about the drugs that would be used to kill them. They say they need stays of execution so they can continue their challenge.

The justices wrote that the Court of Criminal Appeals erred in not taking up the request.

Death penalty abolitionists and others who seek to end the death penalty will protest the executions of two death-row inmates on the days of their executions.

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty will host “Don’t Kill for Me” demonstrations at the governor’s mansion followed by silent vigils on Tuesday for death-row inmate Clayton Lockett and on April 29 for Charles Warner.

The inmates have been in a legal battle with the state over the secrecy surrounding which drugs are used in executions and their origins. The executions are still scheduled to take place, despite pending litigation in the case.

Lockett was found guilty of the 1999 shooting death of a 19-year-old woman, Stephanie Nieman. Warner was convicted for the 1997 death of his roommate’s 11-month-old daughter.

(source: Associated Press)

TENNESSEE: Measure allowing use of electric chair for executions headed to governor


April 18, 2014

Tennessee could electrocute death row inmates if lethal injection drugs are unavailable under legislation that’s headed for Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk.

The Senate voted 25-3 on Thursday to agree to changes to the legislation made by the House, which approved the measure 68-13 the day before.

The legislation keeps lethal injection as the preferred method for executions, but allows the electric chair if the state were unable to obtain the necessary drugs or if lethal injections were found unconstitutional.

And electrocutions would be allowed regardless of when the crime was committed.

Under Tennessee law, death row inmates could choose to be electrocuted if their crimes were committed before 1999, when lethal injection became the preferred method.

There are 76 inmates on Tennessee’s death row, including 1 woman.

(source: Associated Press)

Arthur Tyler, slated to die May 28 in controversial capital case, asks Ohio for mercy


April 18, 2014

Arthur Tyler, who has been on Ohio’s death row 3 decades for the murder of a produce vendor during a robbery in Cleveland, has asked the Ohio Parole Board to commute his sentence to life in prison with a chance of parole.
The parole board will hold a clemency hearing April 24 to hear Tyler’s pleas. The board will make a recommendation to Gov. John Kasich, who will ultimately decide Tyler’s fate.
He is scheduled to be executed May 28.
Tyler’s case has been controversial because he was 1 of 2 people convicted in the killing of Sanders Leach, but the only one sentenced to die. And there are questions as to who actually pulled the trigger.
Tyler’s co-defendant, Leroy Head, confessed almost immediately. Head admitted to police, family and friends that he shot Leach in a struggle for the gun during the March 1983 robbery attempt, according to court records.
He signed a confession, but later changed his story, telling prosecutors that Tyler fired the gun.
Tyler was convicted of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery and sentenced to die. Head pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced to prison. He was released in 2008.
Tyler’s lawyers, in a brief filed with the parole board, said Tyler recognizes he shares responsibility for Leach’s death. But they urge clemency be granted, commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment with parole eligibility.
“Ideally, Arthur Tyler should be granted parole and released from prison for time served, they wrote. “As we will demonstrate, Arthur Tyler did not shoot Mr. Leach. Head falsely testified against Mr. Tyler in order to save himself from the death penalty.”
Source: Cleveland.com,

Thank you, merci, gracias


April 15, 2014

Je tiens à remercier tous les pays francophones qui suivent  mon blog, malgré que les informations soient en anglais  Je remercie les pays africains aussi, les personnes d’amérique du Sud, les émirats Arabe, je remercie le monde entier de me suivre de plus en plus nombreux, Je remercie les followers sur twitter aussi ! Merci à tous

Queria dar la gracias à todos los paises  de habla hispana de seguirme, aunque las informaciones esten en ingles, Doy las gracias a todos los paises de africa tambien, a los Emiratos Arabes, gracias al mundo entero de seguirme siempre mas numerosos. Doy las gracias a los followers de Twitter ! Gracias a todos

I want to thank all English-speaking countries who follow my blog, Thank African countries also, people of South America, the Arab Emirates, I thank the world to follow me you are each time more numerous, I thank followers on twitter too! Thank you to all

 

Anabel

 

 

 

Jury sentences man with history of mental illness to death for killing nurse as part of plot to assassinate President Barack Obama


April 15, 2014

A man with a history of mental illness has been sentenced to death by a jury for killing a South Dakota hospice nurse as part of a plot to assassinate President Barack Obama.

James McVay pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder in 2012 in connection with the stabbing death of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein.

McVay, 43, said he killed Schein and stole her car as part of his plan to drive to Washington and kill the president.

The Sioux Falls jury chose the death penalty, though jurors could have sentenced McVay to life in prison without parole.

Authorities said McVay walked away from a minimum-security prison in July 2011 in Sioux Falls and was mixing cough syrup and alcohol when he climbed under Schein’s slightly open garage door, entered her house, killed her and drove away in her car.

After Schein’s car was reported stolen, police used a tracking service in the vehicle to find McVay on Interstate 90 near Madison, Wisconsin. He was arrested after a brief chase.

Madison Police Officer Kipp Hartman testified that he was trying to get McVay to reveal his name when McVay began saying he ‘killed a little old lady’ in South Dakota and stole her car to get to Washington, D.C., to kill the president.

Prosecutor Aaron McGowan said McVay stabbed Schein nine times, with the final blow cutting her vocal cords and carotid artery, causing her to bleed to death within 16 seconds.

But public defender Traci Smith yesterday said McVay’s characterization by the prosecution as monstrous did not square with the facts of the case or his history, the Argus Leader reported.

Smith said McVay’s mental health was not properly monitored or cared for by the prison staff. She added that McVay poses no threat when his illness is cared for.

‘The state has continually downplayed the effect of mental illness,’ Smith said.

The jury, made up of seven men and five women, agreed last week with prosecutors that McVay’s crime met two aggravating circumstances that would allow the state to impose a death sentence.

The first deemed the offense outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible, or inhuman; the second found that the defendant committed the offense for his own benefit or the benefit of another.

Public defender Amber Eggert during the trial argued before the jury that McVay has suffered from mental illness as well as alcohol and drug issues for much of his life and his life should be spared.

She said that the night before the killing, McVay mixed alcohol with a DXM-based cough syrup, which can cause hallucinations.

McVay said he awoke briefly at 3am to find spiritual entities surrounding him and awoke again hours later to find them still there, telling him to follow through on his plan, she told jurors.

‘That was the sign he was going to get the transportation and the final stuff he needed before going to Washington, D.C.,’ Eggert told the jury.

Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, earlier this month said the death penalty is traditionally reserved for the worst of the worst, and it’s rare for a state to seek the punishment of death after finding someone guilty but mentally ill.

‘I just don’t know of any cases in which you have (such) a verdict, and then the state still seeks the death penalty,’ he said.

Dieter said the guilty but mentally ill verdict gained popularity in a dozen states as part of the public outcry over John Hinckley being found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982 in the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.

The jury on Monday deliberated for a little more than five hours. After the verdict was announced, McGowan said the jury ‘made a brave decision.’

‘I think they made the correct decision,’ McGowan said.

McVay’s defense team did not speak to the media after the hearing. Some of them wept after the verdict was read, news outlets reported.

Three other individuals are on death row in South Dakota: Rodney Berget, Charles Rhines and Briley Piper.

TEXAS – Execution Jose Villegas – April 16, 6 pm- EXECUTED 7.04 PM


“I would like to remind my children once again I love them,” Villegas said when asked if he had a statement before being put to death. “Everything is OK. I love you all, and I love my children. I am at peace.”

High court refuses to stop execution in Texas

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to halt the scheduled execution of a man convicted of killing three members of a Corpus Christi family.

The high court, on a 5-4 vote, rejected arguments from attorneys for Jose Villegas who said the 39-year-old is mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty.

The ruling came Wednesday about 30 minutes after a six-hour window opened for Villegas’ lethal injection for the fatal stabbings 13 years ago of his ex-girlfriend, her 3-year-old son and her mother.

Villegas’ lawyers contended testing in February showed he had an IQ of 59, below the IQ of 70 that courts have embraced as a threshold for mental impairment. State attorneys disputed the test result and called it a late attempt to delay the punishment.

 

As usual, Execution Watch will air, starting at 6pm and have an taped interview with Jose,

Execution Watch with Ray Hill
can be heard on KPFT 90.1 FM,
in Galveston at 89.5 and Livingston at 90.3,
as well as on the net here
from 6:00 PM CT to 7:00 PM CT
on any day Texas executes a prisoner.

April 16 update

Execution Watch with Ray Hill
can be heard on KPFT 90.1 FM,
in Galveston at 89.5 and Livingston at 90.3,
as well as on the net here
from 6:00 PM CT to 7:00 PM CT
on any day Texas executes a prisoner.

April 15, 2014

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Jose Villegas was out on bond for a sexual assault charge and was supposed to go on trial in Corpus Christi for punching a woman in the face on the same day 13 years ago that he stabbed ex-girlfriend, her son and her mother to death.

The former cook, dishwasher and laborer was arrested after a police chase and charged with capital murder for the deaths of his ex-girlfriend, Erida Salazar, her 3-year-old son, Jacob, and her mother, Alma Perez, 51.

Villegas, 38, was set for lethal injection Wednesday for the slayings. He would be the seventh Texas inmate executed this year and the fifth in as many weeks in the nation’s most active death penalty state.

His attorneys argue that the punishment should be put off so they have additional time to investigate evidence they’ve recently found that Villegas is mentally impaired and ineligible for execution. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused Monday to halt the punishment and lawyers for Villegas said they would take their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Salazar’s father, returning home Jan. 22, 2001, from jury duty, found the bloody body of his wife and had a neighbor call police. He then went back inside to find his daughter, 23, and grandson also dead. Court documents show Salazar was stabbed 32 times, her son 19 times and mother 35 times. A television and car also were taken from the home.

Police spotted Salazar’s car with Villegas behind the wheel and he led them on a chase that ended when he bailed out on foot. When he was caught, officers found three bags of cocaine inside his baseball cap.

Testimony at his 2002 capital murder trial showed Villegas told police he pawned the stolen television for $75, used the money immediately to buy cocaine and hoped to commit suicide by overdosing.

“We had a confession, DNA, witnesses who saw him leaving the house afterward,” Mark Skurka, the Nueces County district attorney who prosecuted the case, said. “He killed the mom first, then his girlfriend, then the baby.”

Jurors deliberated less than 20 minutes before convicting him.

Villegas had multiple previous arrests, including burglary, making terroristic threats to kill a woman, assaults and two counts of indecency with a child for exposing himself and fondling the daughter of the woman he was accused of punching in the face. Records showed he had spent at least 200 days in jail and four years on probation.

Defense attorneys at his trial acknowledged Villegas committed the slayings but said they were not intentional and he was mentally ill. A defense psychiatrist blamed his behavior on uncontrollable rages caused by “intermittent explosive disorder.”

“Punishment was the only issue,” Grant Jones, one of Villegas’ trial lawyers, recalled this week. “I’ve been trying criminal cases over 40 years and I’d say in about 80 percent of the cases, mental health is a factor to one degree or another.”

Relatives said Salazar’s mother had urged her to leave Villegas when she learned of the sex charges against him.

Villegas would be the third Texas inmate executed with a new stock of pentobarbital from a provider corrections officials have refused to identify, citing the possibility of threats of violence against the supplier. The Supreme Court has upheld that stance.

Texas and other death penalty states have been scrambling for substitute drugs or new sources for drugs for lethal injections after major drugmakers — many based in Europe where death penalty opposition is strong — stopped selling to state corrections agencies.

Oklahoma says it has obtained secret supply of execution drugs


April 12, 2013

Oklahoma officials on Friday said the state had obtained manufactured pharmaceuticals from a secret supplier for use in the executions of two men later this month, avoiding concerns over the use of compounded drugs but leaving unanswered questions about how it obtained them.

In a letter to defence lawyers, an assistant attorney general, John Hadden, said the state “has recently acquired a manufactured source of vecuronium bromide. That means there will be no compounded drugs used in the executions of your clients. This will resolve the concerns you and your clients have expressed regarding compounded drugs.”

Despite a judge’s ruling that a state drug secrecy law violated the inmates’ constitutional rights, Hadden declined to identify the supplier of the new drugs.

“This information is irrelevant to your clients and disclosure could lead to harassment or intimidation which will have a chilling effect on the state’s ability to acquire these drugs for future executions,” Hadden wrote.

Oklahoma plans to execute Clayton Lockett on 22 April and Charles Warner on 29 April. Both were convicted of murder and rape.

The state said on Friday it would use midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride to kill the men, with dosages untried in US executions. Florida uses the same combination of drugs, but employs a dosage of midazolam, which acts as a sedative, that is five times larger than what Oklahoma plans to use. Vecuronium bromide is a paralytic agent; potassium chloride stops the heart.

Oklahoma had planned to use a different drug – compounded pancuronium bromide – as the second drug in the method, but lawyers objected to the use of loosely regulated compounded drugs that may lack purity and cause an unconstitutionally cruel death.

Hadden said the state will now use drugs that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Madeline Cohen, a lawyer for one of the men due to be executed, said the state needs to reveal details beyond that the pharmaceuticals were manufactured rather than compounded.

“If they disclosed that the drugs were manufactured by a specific company, in a particular lot, and imported with this licence, for example, we would have some ability to evaluate that,” she said.

“Without that, we don’t know if it’s actually an FDA-approved drug or if it has been imported or sold legally, or if it is what the state says it is.”

She said there is no FDA-approved midazolam that comes in the concentration specified in Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol, and the state has not said if it will dilute the drug to make the concentration.

The state could change the concentrations in the protocol, if any numbers were incorrectly written, Hadden said in his letter.

 

(the guardian)

USA Violates International Law; Executes Mexican Citizen – Ramiro Hernandez


April 12, 2014

The United States has once again violated international law, with its execution of Mexican citizen Ramiro Hernandez, who was denied the consular attention included in a Vienna convention, the United Nations charged today.

“Mr. Hernandez did not have consular access, established in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention for Consular Affairs,” OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told the press.

Colville recalled that in 2004 at the U.N. headquarters in Geneva, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a resolution noting that the United States should review and reconsider the cases of 51 Mexicans sentenced to death, including the case of Hernandez, since they had not received the required assistance.

Under international law, the violation of the right to consular notification affects due process, so, we are witnessing a new case of arbitrary deprivation of life by a signing country, since 1992, of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights”, Colville highlighted.

The spokesperson said Wednesday’s execution, which took place in Texas was regrettable.

This is the 16th time the United States has applied the death penalty this year; the 6th in Texas. The U.N. opposes this punishment under any circumstance, but even more so in the recent case due to the aforementioned violations, Colville stressed.

 

(source: plenglish.com)

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