Monthly Archives: February 2016

One Man’s Haunting Look at PTSD and His Brother’s Execution

The Oscar-nominated short ‘Last Day of Freedom’ traces the troubled life of a black veteran.

The debate about the lack of diversity among Oscar nominees has mostly focused on the big, celebrity-driven categories. But scroll down the list and you’ll find “Last Day of Freedom,” a short animated documentary, made by two women, that explores race, war trauma, and the death penalty. The film, which is available on Netflix, follows the story of Manuel Babbitt, a black veteran of the Marines who served in Vietnam. A decade after his return, Babbitt murdered 78-year-old Leah Schendel during a break-in. His lawyers later claimed he was having a flashback.  Read more: The Marshall Project

If you have a netflix logon, you can watch the short here.

Senate Panel to Consider Lethal Injection Secrecy Bill

A bill that would veil lethal injections in secrecy has risen from the dead.

The proposed law, sponsored by 4 Republican senators, would protect the identities of companies that sell lethal injection drugs to the state Department of Corrections, and exempt those purchases from state procurement laws and pharmacy board regulation. It would also protect the identities of the execution team, and of any pharmacists involved in mixing lethal injection drugs.  Read more: Free Times

The bill mentioned in the article is S 553, and there is a companion bill in the House, H 3853, which will speed up the process and make it more likely that a bill becomes law.

This week neither the Senate, nor the House appears to have meetings scheduled for the bills, but meetings can be added any time and bills can be added to already scheduled meetings. Please check back; we will post new information as soon as we receive it.

The Harrowing Testimonies of Death Penalty Executioners

. . . “I know for a fact that I watched four innocent men being killed by the state of Texas, and many more men die who should never have been sent to the chamber… Of the innocent men, Carlos DeLuna was the hardest for me because I knew he had done nothing wrong. What was striking about him and the other innocent men was that they were the most peaceful at the point of their deaths.”
Read the article: attn:     (We are also saving it on this site; look under the Stories link.)

In Orwellian move, NC State Archives blocks access to death penalty photo

In George Orwell’s novel “1984,” the luckless Winston Smith labors in a Ministry of Truth office where he “re-creates” the past by removing or changing historical documents to reflect Big Brother’s political demands.

Winston doesn’t know whether he’s changing a fact or a fallacy another worker has already introduced. He erases some people entirely after the Party executes them.

I couldn’t help but think of Smith’s grim legacy recently. Last month, I requested . . .

Continue reading: The News and Observer

With death penalty decision uncertain, judge delays Dylann Roof’s federal trial

A federal judge on Thursday delayed Dylann Roof’s trial in the deadly attack on Emanuel AME Church because prosecutors still have not decided whether to seek execution.

Roof could face the death penalty on 9 of his 33 charges in federal court, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said the decision by Washington-based Justice Department officials could take another 2 months.   Continue reading: The Post and Courier

Missouri Paid Executioners $250,000 In Cash, Possibly Violating Tax Law

Shortly before each execution in Missouri, a high-ranking corrections official takes envelopes filled with thousands of dollars in cash to the state’s executioners. The cash limits the paper trail — and helps keep the identities of the executioners hidden.

Most of the envelopes are filled with hundred dollar bills. And on the outside, the envelopes carry instructions: They aren’t to be opened until “completion of services rendered.” Continue reading: Buzzfeed

Follow-up article, Feb. 1: Missouri Corrections Head Defends Cash Payments Before State Legislature