The Death Of Capital Punishment

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on January 26, 2011

The execution of Emmanuel Hammond was delayed by the Supreme Court last night. If the state had waited a few minutes, he could have had a midnight ride. The delay was caused by concerns over sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs used in the procedure.

It seems like the Italian producer of sodium thiopental does not want the substance used for executions. Georgia copped a supply from a British company, Dream Pharma. Apparently, it is ok for the State of Georgia to get a barbiturate from a third party source, and import it to the United States. If PG wanted to have a party (instead of an execution), imported hard drugs from a British source, and got caught, he would be in a lot of trouble. Being a government has it’s privileges.

The concept of offing condemned criminals by injecting stuff originated in Oklahoma. The electric chair needed repairs, and the state needed a new method for killing. A three drug protocol was proposed by Chief Medical Examiner, A. Jay Chapman. The first person to be dispatched with this method was David Gregory, in Huntsville TX on December 7, 1982.

One of the problems is the fact that many medical professionals refuse to participate in this procedure. Many executions are performed by prison personnel, who don’t know what they are doing. Dr. Chapman was quoted as saying “It never occurred to me when we set this up that we’d have complete idiots administering the drugs.” There are a few horror stories.

February 5th 2006 Joseph Lewis Clark, Ohio. Prison staff took 22 minutes to initially insert a single IV line, but Clark’s vein collapsed 3-4 minutes later and he raised his head and cried out “It don’t work. It don’t work.” It took the execution team a further half hour to find another vein and he was eventually pronounced dead 90 minutes after the execution had begun.
December 13th, 2006. Angel Nieves Diaz, Florida. Diaz took 34 minutes to die and required a second injection when the needle went through his vein rather than into it. His arms showed burn marks from the chemicals.
March 10th, 1992. Robyn Lee Parks. Oklahoma. Parks had a violent reaction to the drugs. Two minutes after the drugs were administered, the muscles in his jaws, neck, and abdomen began to react spasmodically for approximately 45 seconds. Parks continued to gasp and violently gag. Death came 11 minutes after the drugs were administered. Wayne Greene a reporter on the Tulsa World newspaper described Park’s execution as looking “scary and ugly.”.
April 23rd, 1992. Billy Wayne White. Texas. It took 47 minutes for the prison staff to find a suitable vein, and White eventually had to help them.

A legal challenge to execution by Lethal Injection went to the Supreme Court.
In the state of Kentucky, condemned inmate Ralph Baze, successfully appealed against the use of lethal injection on the grounds that it was a “cruel and unusual punishment” which is therefore unconstitutional under the 8th Amendment. His case was heard by the Supreme Court on January 7th, 2008. On Wednesday, April 15th, 2008, the Supreme Court ruled by a majority of 7-2 that lethal injection does not violate the US Constitution by inflicting cruel and unusual punishment, which cleared the way for executions to resume in 2008. As a result of the earlier ruling, there were no executions in the US from September 25th, 2007 to May 5th, 2008. The Supreme Court ordered the release of the Kentucky protocol for lethal injection which can be read here . Kentucky uses the same three drug cocktail that most other states use and has carried out two executions by injection, both of which appeared to go smoothly. (Eddie Harper in May 1999 and Marco Alan Chapman in 2008).
With sodium thiopental becoming unavailable, states need to find a new sedative to kick off the process. Oklahoma is once again the national innovator. On December 16, 2010, Oklahoma wasted John David Duty using 5 grams of Phenobarbital sodium.

The Kentucky protocol , the method of lethal injection execution approved by the Supreme Court, specifies the use of Sodium Thiopental. Is the use of another sedative permitted? No doubt defense attorneys are filing motions saying no. This will  provide fodder for legal gymnastics over the next few years. Capital punishment is a jobs program for attorneys.

In the preparation of this post, Mr. Google supplied two articles which were generous with facts. Both should be read by anyone interested in these issues. The New York Times Sunday magazine has a slightly sensational approach, which perhaps exaggerates the clumsiness of the execution industry. A website called Capital Punishment U.K. has a clinical approach. (Here is the contents page. ) Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”

7 Responses

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  1. […] three drugs are used. The first, sodium thiopental, is a sedative, used for obvious reasons. As reported earlier at this blog, the drugs Italian manufacturer objects to this use of their product. The state copped it’s […]

  2. […] , Military Money. The execution facility in Georgia has a drug problem. They have obtained substances illegally. They have been busted. Timothy Woodrow Pruitt and Leeland Mark Braley committed […]

  3. Kill Warren Hill | Chamblee54 said, on July 11, 2013 at 4:48 am

    […] When the Supreme Court approved poisoning as a method of execution, it approved the “Kentucky Protocol”. This is a three drug “cocktail”. States have been recently going for the intentional […]

  4. […] mouth. However, for the last several minutes before he was pronounced dead, he was still.” Botched executions are an old story. They predate the chemical executions, with grossout stories about hanging and […]

  5. […] the text, you will be excused. Chamblee54 has written about lethal injection problems one, two, three, four, five, six, seven times. In 2007, the New York Times published The Needle and the Damage […]

  6. Nevada Death Drugs | Chamblee54 said, on July 12, 2018 at 11:52 am

    […] the case.” Chamblee54 has written about the death penalty drug problem several times. (one two three four) Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The photographer was Jack Delano, […]

  7. What’s Racist Is Pretending | Chamblee54 said, on September 28, 2020 at 7:15 am

    […] self-evident rather than simplistic, and that to disagree with it is a form of racism … ~ one two three four The three drug protocol originally used was devised by a medical examiner in Oklahoma. […]

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