Monthly Archives: January 2015

Supreme Court will review drug protocol used in executions

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will review the drug protocol increasingly used in executions across the country to determine whether the procedure violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.     Continue reading: The Washington Post

Related: The Atlantic: Midazolam and the Supreme Court
The Daily Beast: America’s Secret Lethal Injection Cocktails
Sentencing Law and Policy: Seven years after Baze, another lethal injection challenge
links to more articles: Continue reading

Veterans with PTSD on Death Row

On Tuesday night, Georgia executed Vietnam War veteran Andrew Brannan for murdering Sheriff Deputy Kyle Dinkheller in January 1998. . . . Brannan was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 1984 and, later, bipolar disorder. His defense team invoked his diagnoses in an attempt to avoid the death penalty. In 1986, the Supreme Court outlawed the execution of the mentally ill.  Read the article at the New Republic

Shifting Politics on the Death Penalty

In January 1992, Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, left the presidential campaign trail to fly home for the execution of a man named Ricky Ray Rector. Mr. Clinton’s decision not to grant clemency to Mr. Rector, who had been sentenced to death for killing a police officer, was widely seen as an attempt to fend off the familiar charge that Democrats were soft on crime.
On Dec. 31, Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, whose name has been mentioned among potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidates, commuted the sentences of the last 4 inmates on the state’s death row.
Maryland abolished the death penalty in 2013, but only for new sentences. In resentencing the condemned men to life without parole, Mr. O’Malley said that leaving their death sentences in place would “not serve the public good of the people of Maryland – present or future.”
Whether or not Mr. O’Malley runs for president, his action is a mark of how quickly the death penalty debate in America has shifted.
Continue reading the editorial at the New York Times.

San Quentin warden Jeanne Woodford argues it is time to remove the death penalty

In San Quentin prison in California just after midnight on 4 occasions warden Jeanne Woodford checked her watch before giving the final order to execute 4 men on death row. Today she is among a growing number of Americans campaigning to end the death penalty in the United States, the only Western democracy that still imposes it.

Continue reading Bette Browne’s article: The Irish Examiner
Many thanks to Rick Halperin for alerting us to this story and many others.