United States district court

Missouri: Judge Blocks Sale of Drug for Execution


february 13, 2014

A federal judge late Wednesday temporarily blocked an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy from selling a drug to the Missouri Department of Corrections for use in a Feb. 26 execution.

The temporary restraining order was issued in connection with a lawsuit in United States District Court in Tulsa filed by a Missouri death row inmate, Michael Taylor, whose lawyers say the state contracts with the Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa for the drug.

The lawsuit argued that recent executions involving the drug, compounded pentobarbital, indicate it will probably cause “severe, unnecessary, lingering and ultimately inhumane pain.”

The state has not revealed the name of the pharmacy, and the Tulsa pharmacy has not said whether it is the supplier. The judge, Terence Kern, set a hearing for Tuesday.

(Source:NYT)

As Execution Nears, Plano Road-Rage Killer Claims Inhumane Treatment, Neglects to Mention He Tried To Tear Phone From Wall


feldmandouglas2.jpg

Barring a stay of execution, Douglas Feldman is scheduled to die in nine days. His petition for a state writ of habeas corpus based on ineffective assistance of counsel has gone nowhere. He claims his trial attorney failed to investigate the role his alleged bipolar disorder played in the murders. Now he’s running out of road, but Feldman is in no hurry to become the 503rd Texas inmate to meet the end. So, he filed his own petition with a federal district court last week.

It’s handwritten and a little messy, but Feldman is no dummy. His petition is also lucid and articulate. He was, after all, once a financial analyst. Then, in 1998, he was out for a night ride on his Harley when he claimed an 18-wheeler nearly ran him off the road. He gunned his motorcycle alongside the truck and emptied his clip into the cab, killing Robert Everett, the driver.

On his way home, he pulled off at an Exxon fueling station and shot tanker driver Nicholas Velasquez in the back. A week later, he shot Antonio Vega outside of a Jack-in-the-Box because he was standing next to a big rig. A jury sentenced him to die. Last year, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to vacate his death sentence. Earlier this year, he wrote a letter to Gawker, pondering the sociological inequities he’d identified on death row and requesting “LSD Hydrate” to help him cope with some heavy existential anxiety.

Now, he’s taking a run at the federal district court himself and claiming some abhorrent treatment in the Polunsky Unit. Among other things, he says he’s had his head shaved, been subject to round-the-clock searches, been forced to sleep naked on the bare concrete floor and been denied toilet paper. All of this, he claims, without having been “convicted of any disciplinary offense.”

But Unfair Park reached out to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and was just stunned to discover that Feldman isn’t exactly Nelson Mandela. About a month ago, he granted an interview to a reporter. Before it could begin, TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark says, the inmate tried to tear a telephone from the wall.

Feldman, Clark says, has a lengthy disciplinary history. He’s been caught with a razor, which officers believed could be used as a weapon. He has filled bottles in his cell with feces and urine. He has “attempted to assault a corrections officer by slipping out of his cuffs.”

Clark couldn’t comment on Feldman’s pending litigation.

dallasobserver.com

Missouri AG says state may have to use gas chamber


By JIM SALTER Associated Press
Posted: 07/03/2013 01:31:24 PM PDT

ST. LOUIS—With drugs needed for lethal injection in short supply and courts wrangling over how to execute prisoners without them, Missouri’s attorney general is floating one possible solution: Bring back the gas chamber.

In court filings and interviews this week, Attorney General Chris Koster noted that Missouri statutes allow two options for executions: lethal injection and death by gas. Koster’s comments come amid his growing frustration over the Missouri Supreme Court’s refusal to set execution dates until lethal injection issues are resolved.

“The Missouri death penalty statute has been, in my opinion, unnecessarily entangled in the courts for over a decade,” Koster said Wednesday in an email exchange with The Associated Press.

Asked about concerns by some who say using lethal gas could violate condemned inmates’ constitutional guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment, Koster responded: “The premeditated murder of an innocent Missourian is cruel and unusual punishment. The lawful implementation of the death penalty, following a fair and reasoned jury trial, is not.”

Missouri used gas to execute 38 men and one woman from 1938 to 1965. After a 24-year hiatus, the death penalty resumed in 1989. Since then, 68 men—all convicted murderers—have been executed in the state, all by lethal injection. But as concerns were raised in the courts about the lethal injection process, Missouri has carried out just two executions since 2005.

A return to lethal gas would create an expense because Missouri no longer has a gas chamber. Previous executions by gas took place at the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City. Prisoners were moved out of that prison a decade ago and it is now a tourist attraction—complete with tours of what used to be the gas chamber.

Like other states with the death penalty, Missouri for years used a three-drug mixture to execute inmates. But those drugs are no longer being made available for executions, leaving states to scramble for solutions.

Last year, Missouri announced plans to use propofol, the anesthetic blamed for pop star Michael Jackson’s 2009 death—even though the drug hasn’t been used to execute prisoners in the U.S. and its potential for lethal injection is under scrutiny by the courts.

A 2012 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City on behalf of 21 Missouri death row inmates claimed the use of propofol would be cruel and unusual punishment.

In an interview last week, Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Russell said the court is “waiting for resolution” from the U.S. District Court.

Koster on Monday asked the Missouri Supreme Court to set execution dates for two long-serving inmates, arguing that time is running short to use a limited, nearly expired supply of propofol.

Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, said a few other proposals have been made for states to use the gas chamber or the electric chair, but they’ve gone nowhere.

“It’s unlikely that states would go back to these older methods, and if they did I’m not sure they would be upheld” in the courts, he said.

Rita Linhardt, chairwoman of the board for Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, questioned the practicality of the gas chamber.

“The gas chamber has been dismantled in Missouri, so from a practical point of view I don’t know how that could be done,” Linhardt said. “I would think that would be a considerable cost and expense for the state to rebuild the machinery of death.”

STAYS OF EXECUTIONS 2012


UPDATE October 19, 2012

STAYS OF EXECUTIONS 2012

Date of  Scheduled Execution  State  Inmate Reason for Stay
January      
17 PA Ralph Birdsong Stayed to allow time for appeals.
18 PA Kenneth Hairston Stayed to allow time for appeals.
 18 OH Charles Lorraine U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost delayed the execution due to the Department of Corrections failing to “follow its own rules for executions.”  Frost said the state failed to document the drugs used in its last execution in November and failed to review the medical chart of the inmate who was put to death.
19 KY Michael St. Clair Stayed due to a pending case on the fairness of the death penalty protocol in Kentucky.
20 DE Robert Gattis Gov. Jack Markell cited the “unusual and perhaps historic” recommendation of the Delaware Board of Pardons, in a 4-1 vote, to commute Gattis’ sentence after considering disturbing accounts of physical and sexual abuse that Gattis claims to have suffered as a child and which his attorneys argued have never been properly considered by the courts.
31 GA Nicholas Tate Stayed to allow time for appeals.
February      
1 TX Donald Newbury Stayed by U.S. Supreme Court to consider an Arizona case that questions whether death row inmates are entitled to better legal help during initial appeals.
8 MS Edwin Turner U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves stayed the execution to allow Turner to be seen by a psychiatrist of his choosing.
16 OK Garry Allen Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin granted a 30-day stay of execution so that state attorneys could study whether he should be granted clemency.
22 OH Michael Webb Stayed by U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost, through an agreement with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, to allow time for Ohio to revise their execution protocols.
28 TX Anthony Bartee Stayed by State District Judge Mary Roman to allow time for DNA testing.
March      
6 NE Michael Ryan Stayed by the Nebraska Supreme Court to allow time for a lower court to consider a request to have Ryan’s sentence commuted to life in prison.
8 PA Dustin Briggs Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
16 OK Garry Allen Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin issued an additional 26-day stay.
18 SD Briley Piper Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
29 AL Tommy Arthur Stayed by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals due to Alabama’s decision to use pentobarbital as part of a three-drug execution combination.
April      
5 UT Michael Archuleta Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
12 AL Carey Grayson Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
12 OK Garry Allen Granted stay by a federal District Court judge to give adequate opportunity to litigate claims regarding competency.
19 GA Daniel Greene Stayed for up to 90 days by the state Board of Pardons and Paroles to allow for additional time to examine the substance of claims offered by Greene’s representatives. Update – Greene’s sentence was commuted to a sentence of life without parole by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.
20 DE Shannon Johnson Stayed by a federal judge to allow time to hear mental incompetence claims. 
Update – Johnson has been executed.
26 TX Buenka Adams Stayed by U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider to allow time to review the quality of legal help that Adams had in early stages of his appeal.  Update – Adams has been executed.
May      
2 TX Anthony Bartee Stayed to consider a request for additional DNA testing.
9 LA Todd Wessinger Stayed by U.S. District Judge James Brady to allow time to review arguments presented by Wessinger’s attorneys.
13-19 SD Eric Robert Stayed by the South Dakota Supreme Court so the court can fully review the case.
16 TX Steven Staley Stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals due to mental health issues raised in his appeal.
16 AZ Samuel Lopez Stayed by the Arizona Supreme Court to allow time for issues raised by recent clemency-board appointments to be worked out.
June      
6 TX Bobby Hines Stayed at the request of the district attorney’s office to allow further DNA testing.
6 OH Abdul Awkal Stayed for 2 weeks by Gov. John Kasich to allow a judge to hold a hearing on his mental competency.  Update – Cuyahoga County Judge Stuart Friedman has issued a decision that Awkal may not be executed unless and until he has been restored to competency.
July      
18/23 GA Warren Hill July 18 execution stayed until July 23 to allow time for the state to switch to a single-drug execution protocol.  Update- July 23 execution stayed by unanimous vote of Georgia Supreme Court to consider state’s change of lethal injection protocol.
26 OH John Eley Governor John R. Kasich commuted the death sentence of John Jeffrey Eley to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Kasich stated that Eley, who is of limited mental capacity, acted under the direction of another man who was later acquitted. Without those factors it is doubtful that Eley would have committed this crime. Additionally, the former Mahoning County prosecutor who tried Eley’s case regretted the way the case was handled and its outcome, and had called for clemency.
August      
1 TX Marcus Druery Stayed by TX Court of Criminal Appeals to consider whether a hearing is needed to determine his mental competency.
3 MO Michael Tisius Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
15 LA Jason Reeves Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
22 TX John Balentine Stayed by U.S. Supreme Court to allow time for further review.
September      
9-15 SD Rodney Berget Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
13 PA Michael Travaglia Stayed to allow more time to prepare a federal appeal.
October      
3 PA Terrance Williams Trial level judge found prosecutors withheld evidence.  New sentencing ordered.
9 PA Terry Chamberlain Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
10 PA Andre Staton Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
10 TX Jonathan Green Stayed by U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas to allow review of Green’s mental competency. Update – stay has been overturned by 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Update – Green has been executed.
11 PA David Ramtahal Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
16 FL John Ferguson Stayed by Gov. Scott to allow time for psychiatric testing.  Execution could go forward if Ferguson found mentally competent.  Update – The Florida Supreme Court granted a 2-day stay of execution so the justices can hear another appeal, the stay will expire 10/18. Update – prior stay required setting of a new execution date.  Update – Execution date has been set for 10/23.
18 TX Anthony Haynes Stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court (7-2) to consider claims of inadequate representation at trial and appeal.