« Ind. Courts - Indiana concrete customer lawsuits could net millions | Main | Courts - "Camera-shy justices hyperlink a video to their car-crash opinion" »

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Law - "Judge blocks execution of Tennessee man"

A story in the LA Times today, by Henry Weinstein, reports:

A federal judge in Nashville on Friday blocked the execution of a man who has been on Tennessee's death row for more than 20 years, based on a challenge to the state's new lethal injection procedure.

Attorneys for Philip Ray Workman demonstrated a likelihood of success on their claim that the protocol exposes their client "to a foreseeable and likely unnecessary risk of unconstitutional pain and suffering in violation of the Eight Amendment," U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell wrote.

Campbell said he would hold a hearing May 14 on whether to issue a preliminary injunction barring all executions under the new protocol. * * *

The new protocol contains more detail than the old one. But [attorney Kelley J. Henry] said it "provides for the procurement, mixing and administration of highly sensitive and unstable chemicals by poorly trained and unqualified personnel."

In support of her position, which she submitted to the district court Thursday, Henry offered a lengthy declaration by Dr. Mark J.S. Heath — a Columbia University anesthesiologist who has testified on behalf of condemned inmates around the country. The new protocol "does little to nothing to assure [the state] will reliably achieve humane executions," Heath wrote.

Testimony from Dr. Heath was also presented in the federal lawsuit challenging Indiana's lethal-injection procedure - that action was not successful. See these ILB entries from April 26th and May 1, 2007.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 6, 2007 05:45 PM
Posted to General Law Related