Chamblee54

Is Georgia Smart Enough To Kill People?

Posted in The Death Penalty by chamblee54 on February 21, 2013

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The fishwrapper has two stories this morning. Both confirm the notion that the State of Georgia is not smart enough to handle capital punishment.

Warren Hill stay of execution stands deals with the black man scheduled for execution this week. ” A psychiatrist and two psychologists who worked for the state recently told Hill’s lawyer that they had been rushed to make an evaluation 13 years ago, that they are now more experienced than they were then and there had been advances made in the profession’s understanding of mental retardation.” If the court had waited a half hour to act, it would have been too late.

Court of Appeals stays execution scheduled for Thursday deals with the white man scheduled to die. (The GDC seems to keep a white-black equality of prisoners executed.) ” the appellate judges are considering whether a prison pharmacy must first have a doctor’s prescription before it can dispense pentobarbital, the sedative that the state has opted to use as its only drug in lethal injections.”

For some reason, when states decided to poison death row inmates, a three drug protocol was chosen. When the inevitable lawsuit went to the Supreme Court, this was the method of execution that was ruled on. As time went on, some of the substances used were no longer available.

In the “Kentucky Protocol”, the first of three drugs was a sedative. The second paralyzed the prisoner, and the third stopped the heart. The third substance caused excruciating pain, which is why the first two substances were used. In several executions in Georgia, there were indications that the sedative used was not effective. The prisoner was aware that a substance causing a “caustic burning sensation” was being injected into his body. Since the second drug paralyzed the prisoner, witnesses did not have to see the prisoner writhe in pain.

The executions this week were to be the first to use a deliberate overdose of pentobarbital. Anesthetizing the public conscience: lethal injection and animal euthanasia has more to say about this.

In the late 1970s, when Texas was considering whether to adopt Oklahoma’s three-drug lethal injection formula for the execution of prisoners, Dr. Ralph Gray, the doctor in charge of medical care in Texas prisons, consulted with a Texas veterinarian named Dr. Gerry Etheredge. Dr. Etheredge told Dr. Gray that veterinarians used an overdose of one drug, an anesthetic called sodium pentobarbital, to euthanize animals and that it was a “very safe, very effective, and very cheap” method of euthanasia. Dr. Etheredge remembers that Dr. Gray had only one objection to using a similar method to execute human beings. “He said it was a great idea,” Dr. Etheredge recalled, “except that people would think we are treating people the same way that we’re treating animals. He was afraid of a hue and cry.” Texas rejected Dr. Etheredge’s one-drug, anesthetic-only recommendation and, in 1982, became the first state to actually use lethal injection–via the three-drug formula–as a method of execution.

The situation has rotten optics. The state of Georgia is dispensing drugs without a prescription. If you do this on the street, you are breaking the law. If you do get a Doctor to write a prescription, then he is *probably* violating some medical ethics. (PG is not a lawyer, nor a doctor.) Some say that the criminals on death row deserve having a “caustic burning sensation” injected in the right arm, or wherever they can find a good vein. The question is why the state doesn’t have to obey it’s own laws.

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”. UPDATE The stay of execution has been lifted. Mr. Cook is scheduled to die at 7:00 pm. UPDATE TWO The Guardian reports Georgia rushes to carry out executions before lethal drug supply expires. It seems as though the official state stash of pentobarbital will expire on March 1. The state does not know where it will get a new supply. UPDATE THREE The top tweet at #AndrewCook is a sponsored tweet promoting the Art Institute of Atlanta. Apparently AIA made an award winning Doritos commercial, and they thought this was the place to boast. UPDATE FOUR Andrew Cook died at 11:22 pm, February 21, 2013.

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3 Responses

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

    […] choice is no longer available. Is using a mystery drug, from a secret source, really wise and just? Is Georgia Smart Enough To Kill People? And it is a secret source. “The Georgia Legislature in March passed a bill that would make […]

  2. […] not want their products used for executions. This is another p.r. problem. Georgia has been using mystery drugs to poison prisoners. These substances are produced by a compounding pharmacy, whose identity is […]

  3. […] to skip over 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 […]


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