death penalty

Law and Order
2:08 pm
Sun July 27, 2014

With Judges Overriding Death Penalty Cases, Alabama Is An Outlier

Courtney Lockhart is appealing a death penalty sentence that a judge gave him in 2011, which overrode the jury's recommendation of life in prison.
Dave Martin AP

When Courtney Lockhart was tried for murder in Alabama, the jury unanimously recommended a life sentence, but the judge overrode that recommendation and sentenced Lockhart to death instead. Now the convicted murderer is asking the state Supreme Court to examine Alabama's unique process of judicial override.

Alabama is an outlier. It's the only state in which judges routinely override jury decisions not to impose the death penalty.

Read more
Law and Order
10:15 am
Thu May 8, 2014

The Executioner's Lament

Dr. Jay Chapman, pictured here in 2007, developed the original formula for lethal injections with the intention of making executions in the U.S. more humane.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 1:47 pm

In 1977, death row inmate Gary Mark Gilmore chose to be executed by a firing squad. Gilmore was strapped to a chair at the Utah State Prison, and five officers shot him.

The media circus that ensued prompted a group of lawmakers in nearby Oklahoma to wonder if there might be a better way to handle executions. They approached Dr. Jay Chapman, the state medical examiner at the time, who proposed using three drugs, based loosely on anesthesia procedures at the time: one drug to knock out the inmates, one to relax or paralyze them, and a final drug that would stop their hearts.

Read more
Law and Order
3:02 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

States Swap One Drug For Another, And Botched Executions Follow

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 5:35 pm

Oklahoma's botched execution of Clayton Lockett is prompting other states to question their use of the drug midazolam in lethal injections. The Lockett execution is fueling new calls to re-examine how states put inmates to death.

Capitol Access
3:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Death Penalty Drugs Bill Advances

 If you can’t get lethal injection drugs, how do you impose the death penalty?

"We have the death sentence. Whether some of you agree with that or disagree with it, that's what we have,” said House Criminal Justice committee chairman Joe Lopinto. “If we're going to have that we need to be able, as a state, to follow through with that order."

Read more
Politics
6:03 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Death Penalty Fades As Hot-Button Issue

Death penalty opponents set up signs April 23 at the Florida State Prison near Starke, Fla., just hours before the execution of Robert Eugene Hendrix, 47, who killed his cousin and his cousin's wife to prevent him from testifying in a burglary case against him.
Phil Sandlin AP

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 9:00 am

It's almost hard to remember how dominant an issue the death penalty was a generation ago.

Crime and drugs were the top issues for voters in 1994. Not coincidentally, support for the death penalty peaked that year, at 80 percent, according to Gallup polling.

Read more
Politics
5:50 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Insight: What Goes Up (for Debate) Often Comes Down

A couple of high-profile bills were on the Louisiana legislature's docket in the past week, both were dashed. A proposal to allow for medical marijuana was rejected and the possibility for the return of the electric chair was commuted to a more palatable proposal for shielding suppliers of lethal injection drugs.

Law and Order
5:23 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

States Struggle To Find An Execution Method That Works

The gurney in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary is pictured in McAlester, Okla., in 2008. Legal pressures and concerns from European manufacturers have made traditional execution drugs unavailable to states.
AP

States have always struggled to find humane ways to carry out the death penalty. For a generation, they have favored lethal injection, but that method has become increasingly problematic.

It's coming under increased scrutiny following the death of Clayton Lockett, who died Tuesday of a heart attack after writhing visibly during an execution attempt in Oklahoma.

The execution "fell short" of humane standards, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Wednesday.

Read more
Public Safety
5:54 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Missouri Execution Stalled Over Lethal Drugs In Short Supply

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 6:58 pm

A few years ago, Missouri, like other states, was having trouble finding lethal execution drugs. Europe was balking, and U.S. drug manufacturers didn't want a part of it.

So Missouri turned to a place called a compounding pharmacy to make up the needed drugs based on the ingredients. Missouri officials sent an employee to a place called The Apothecary Shoppe in Oklahoma, with thousands of dollars in cash.

Last week, George Lombardi, director of Missouri's Department of Corrections, explained to lawmakers why his employees had to go to such lengths.

Read more
Public Safety
10:50 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Is The Death Penalty Dying A Slow Death?

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 3:17 pm

This week, the state of Louisiana delayed the execution of Christopher Sepulvado, who was convicted of killing his 6-year-old stepson more than two decades ago.

Sepulvado’s lawyers argued that the two drugs that Louisiana officials wanted to use to put Sepulvado to death would violate his eighth amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.

There’s a shortage of drugs used for capital punishment, and it’s leading some states to consider bringing back the electric chair or the firing squad.

Read more
Politics
6:25 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Insight: Louisiana's Abortion Rules, Execution Method in Limbo

There were developments related to two hot-button issues this week in Louisiana: abortion and the death penalty.


Pages