Tennessee Executions In Secret? Great Article on Lethal Injection Drug Supply Crisis

 There is a good overview of the current state of lethal injection executions published in The Tennessean (and picked up by USA Today) which goes into detail regarding the current dilemma in this country regarding lethal injection executions.

Different states are approaching their Execution Schedules differently -- Texas and Florida, of course, are going forward with lethal injection executions.  Texas has a new and secret supplier of pentobarbital so its execution schedule shouldn't be thwarted by a lack of supply.

Not so for other states.  

Tennessee has reacted by bringing down the curtain down its executions and there's a lawsuit brought by Death Row inmates seeking to change that -- one question, who is the state's drug supplier?

It's a big question - who is supplying the drugs to the state executioners?  

And do these companies have a legal right to wear a hooded mask of sorts, hiding their identity from the public as manufacturers of a drug that is used to kill people?  


Florida Executes Robert Lavern Henry and Texas Executes Ray Jasper While Oklahoma Halts Execution

On Oklahoma's Death Row, two men who were set to die either this week or next week have had their executions extended because the State of Oklahoma has not been able to find the necessary drugs for the lethal injection executions.

Meanwhile, the State of Texas went ahead with its lethal injection execution of Ray Jasper yesterday. Texas also has another execution planned for March 2014 -- and next week's execution will be the last lethal injection execution before Texas starts using a different supplier's pentobarbital product -- a mysterious supplier whose identity remains unknown as state officials have denied media access to the supplier's identity under arguments that doing so would endanger the company or its personnel.

And today, just a few hours ago, the State of Florida executed Robert Lavern Henry by lethal injection at Florida State Prison for murders that happened over 26 years ago. 

Terence Lenamon is "Stand By Counsel" in Michel Escoto Defense in Miami Newlywed Murder Trial

Right now, Terence Lenamon and Melissa Ortiz of Lenamon Law are in trial in Miami, Florida -- a murder trial that is expected to run for around two months in the courtroom of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez.

However, Terry Lenamon and his associate are acting as "stand by counsel" for the defendant, because the defendant in this case, Michel Escoto, has chosen to exercise his constitutional right to represent himself in his criminal trial - which started today.  

Michel Escoto maintains he is innocent of this crime. 

Those in the Miami area may recognize Michel Escoto's name as the man accused of killing Wendy Trapaga, his newlywed wife, with the prosecution alleging that Escoto killed his bride in order to collect on a life insurance policy.  

For more details, check out the Miami Herald's coverage of the case, including today's article by David Ovalle, "Husband on trial in death of his newlywed wife in Miami-Dade."

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments Today in Hall v. Florida

 Today, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Hall v. Florida, where Florida death row inmate Freddie Lee Hall argues that it is unconstitutional for the State of Florida to use a specific IQ score (i.e., 70) as the basis for allowing execution of anyone whose intellectual capacity measures above that number. (Precedent does not use the phrase "lack of intellectual capacity," but instead "mental retardation" as a basis for denying capital punishment as it would be cruel and unusual punishment.) 

Read the transcript of the oral argument here.

For background on the case, check out our prior posts:

 U.S. Supreme Court Deciding Major Death Penalty Case Regarding Intellectual Ability and Capital Punishment: the Case of Freddie L. Hall

Florida Death Penalty Case Re Low IQ as Mitigating Factor in Death Penalty Case before USSCt: Will Florida Statute Be Found Unconstitutional?




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