News Update 09.17.07
Back in August, the Council of State was ordered to reconsider its decision to approve the new lethal injection protocol. Last week, the Council announced that it will take this under advisement – and render a final decision – at its October 2nd meeting. The Council is not allowing live testimony, but will permit the parties to submit their arguments in writing. The Council is not bound to accept the judge’s findings of fact or conclusions of law, which included that the proposed protocol is insufficient to guard against undue suffering during an execution.
John Holdridge and Christopher Hill of the NC-based ACLU Capital Punishment Project weigh in on the capital defense crisis in the “Death Belt”.
In California, the federal judge overseeing that state’s lethal injection challenge has moved a hearing back two months to allow him time to visit California’s shiny new execution chamber. At the December hearing, the Court will determine whether California has remedied the flaws that halted executions in 2006, including poor training for execution team members and problems with the administration of the lethal drugs.
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has commuted Michael Joe Boyd (AKA Mika’eel Abdullah Abdus-Samad)’s death sentence to life without parole. The Governor was concerned that Boyd received ineffective assistance of counsel both at trial and on appeal. It is believed to be the first commutation since Tennessee resumed executions in the 1970s.
Capital Defense Weekly notes “four stays in four days.” Joseph Lave (TX), Terrell Nooner (AR), Ralph Baze (KY), and Rommell Broom (OH) were all granted stays of execution last week.
From NYU Law School’s alumni magazine, a profile of the godfather of capital punishment litigation, Anthony Amsterdam. For forty years, Tony has been fighting the death penalty and inspiring others to do the same. The magazine also profiles Bryan Stevenson, the director of Alabama’s Equal Justice Initiative and a man deeply dedicated to justice.