Death Penalty Book List: Read More About Capital Punishment

Over on Goodreads, there is a list of books on the death penalty, putting together both fiction and non-fiction together in order of popularity.

Death Penalty Book List from Goodreads

For those who like to read about death penalty issues and capital punishment, here are the top ten on this Goodreads list -- how many have you read?

1. The Confession by John Grisham 

2. The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham
3. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult 

4. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

5. Dead Man Walking: The Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty That Sparked a National Debate by Helen Prejean

6. The Chamber by John Grisham
7.  The Autobiography of an Execution by David R. Dow
8. The Green Mile by Stephen King
9. I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
10. Life After Death by Damien Echols 

Happy Birthday Terence Lenamon!


Pfizer Bans Use of Its Products in U.S. Executions

This week, Pfizer banned the use of its drug products in U.S. executions -- or anywhere else for that matter.  Pfizer isn't setting precedent here, as much as getting in line behind almost two dozen other drug manufacturers that have already announced a company ban on the capital punishment market.

Pfizer Bans Use of Seven Pfizer Products in Lethal Injection Executions

From Pfizer's news release (emphasis added):

Pfizer’s Position on Use of Our Products in Lethal Injections for Capital Punishment

Pfizer’s mission is to apply science and our global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacturing of medicines.

Pfizer makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve. Consistent with these values, Pfizer strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment.

Pfizer’s obligation is to ensure the availability of our products to patients who rely on them for medically necessary purposes. At the same time, we are enforcing a distribution restriction for specific products that have been part of, or considered by some states for their lethal injection protocols.

These products include pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide and vecuronium bromide.

Pfizer’s distribution restriction limits the sale of these seven products to a select group of wholesalers, distributors, and direct purchasers under the condition that they will not resell these products to correctional institutions for use in lethal injections. Government purchasing entities must certify that products they purchase or otherwise acquire are used only for medically prescribed patient care and not for any penal purposes.

Pfizer further requires that these Government purchasers certify that the product is for “own use” and will not resell or otherwise provide the restricted products to any other party.

Pfizer will consistently monitor the distribution of these seven products, act upon findings that reveal noncompliance, and modify policies when necessary to remain consistent with our stated position against the improper use of our products in lethal injections. Importantly, this distribution system is also designed to ensure that these critical medications will remain immediately available to those patients who rely on them every day.

ABOUT THESE PRODUCTS: Propofol, pancuronium bromide, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride are FDA-approved, medically necessary drugs administered by licensed medical professionals, thousands of times a day, in efforts to treat illness or save the lives of patients around the world. They are well established within the medical community and continue to serve important needs in surgical procedures and other treatments.

Pfizer offers these products because they save or improve lives, and markets them solely for use as indicated in the product labeling.


New Florida Death Penalty Law Also Unconstitutional Per Miami Judge

Last fall, SCOTUS ruled that the Florida death penalty law was unconstitutional.  Florida legislators immediately got to work revising the state's capital punishment statute and a new death penalty law went into effect not too long ago.

Now, Florida Circuit Court Judge Milton Hirsch has turned things on their heads regarding this revised statute by ruling it to be unconstitutional, as well. 

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Hirsch Finds New Florida Death Penalty Law Unconstitutional

Why?  Judge Hirsch finds that it is unconstitutional not to have a capital jury vote unanimously for the death penalty.  The new Florida law does not require all the jurors to vote for death in order for the defendant to be sentenced to death. 

What does this mean? 

1. New and Pending Matters

Prosecutors dealing with new and pending capital cases will face making trial decisions in the face of this new law being ruled unconstitutional by Judge Hirsch.

Criminal defense lawyers will have to deal with new and pending cases in the aftermath of this decision, too.

For more on this story, read the Miami Herald coverage today.

2. Convictions and Death Row

Meanwhile, for all those Death Row inmates who've already had a trial, they still await word on Hurst v. Florida, where the Florida Supreme Court will be ruling on whether or not they get new sentencing hearings, etc. 

For more on that case (including reading the amicus brief filed by Terence Lenamon / Florida Capital Resource Center) read last week's post.

Read Hirsch Opinion in Terence Lenamon Online Library

Also, the Hirsch Opinion in Florida v. Gaiter has been stored in the Terence Lenamon Online Library: 

Florida v Gaiter Order by Miami Circuit Judge Hirsch




Hurst Returns to the Florida Supreme Court: Read Amicus Brief

Today, oral argument was presented before the Florida Supreme Court on behalf of Death Row Inmate Timothy Hurst.

Hurst v. Florida Oral Argument Today

This is same Timothy Hurst whose arguments before the United States Supreme Court resulted in the High Court ruling that Florida's death penalty statute was unconstitutional.

Now, the Florida Supreme Court will decide if the SCOTUS decision opens the way for Timothy Hurst to have another sentencing hearing; or it changes his sentence from death to life without parole; or if there's a third result.

396 Florida Death Row Inmates Await the Result

It's a big case: around 400 other Death Row inmates in Florida will watch this case to learn their future in the aftermath of the SCOTUS ruling last fall.

Terence Lenamon / Florida Capital Resource Center Join on Amicus Brief

Terence Lenamon (co-founder) and the Florida Capital Resource Center have joined in this fight via an amicus brief as "friends of the court".

Appearing on the amicus: 

  • Justice Harry Lee Anstead,
  • Judge Rosemary Barkett,
  • Martha Barnett,
  • Talbot D’Alemberte,
  • Hank Coxe,
  • Justice Gerald Kogan,
  • the Florida Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and
  • the Florida Center For Capital Representation.

Complete copies of the Amicus Brief, Appendix, and Motion for Leave to File have been uploaded for public review here today. 

You can read them in the Terence Lenamon Online Library, and see the brief below:

Amended Amicus Brief on Behalf of Appellants in Hurst


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