Death Row inmate Romell Broom was setting in the courtroom this week as his attorneys stood ready for an evidentiary hearing that would take a couple of days in front of Federal District Judge Gregory Frost. Romell Broom sat there, ready to testify. Think of it — Broom left his small Death Row cell to set in that public
All this morning, there have been almost minute by minute updates on the web regarding whether or not the appellate attorneys feverishly fighting to stop this morning’s execution of Kenneth Biros by the State of Ohio will be successful. Biros’ attorneys are literally banging on the doors of the United States Supreme Court, asking that…
Today, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued a ruling that no one is going to be executed in the State of Kentucky until things are done by the book regarding the lethal injection killing method. The high court set no deadline on when capital punishment might resume in Kentucky, either. Its formal opinion is already published…
Last week, the State of Ohio announced that it was changing its method of execution from a lethal injection involving three drugs (sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride) to a single injection of the drug sodium thiopental.
Ohio changes to a single-drug form of execution after its failed execution…
At this point, it’s pretty late in the legal game for John Muhammad, known as The Washington Sniper. Tried and sentenced to death for the killing of Dean Meyers, the victim of a sniper’s bullet at a Manassas, Virginia gas station in 2002, Muhammad has already exhausted appellate avenues aside from the United States…
The U.S. Supreme Court is back at work, and today it will begin deciding whether or not it will hear the case of Holmes v. Louisiana. What’s at stake is whether or not Brandy Holmes, who is only 23 years old and suffers mental retardation as a result of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, should die…
Romell Broom was sentenced to die for the rape and murder of Tryna Middleton by the State of Ohio and last Tuesday, Mr. Broom was strapped to a gurney and his execution by lethal injection began.
The 2+ Hour Failed Execution
Except they couldn’t find a vein in which to insert the needle. They tried…
The news has been filled this week with the questioning of the Latina who may well be our next U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and some may be wondering why all the hoopla. Well, let’s look back to 1972, where one single justice’s vote successfully halted capital punishment in this country for four years.
There was a time in the mid-twentieth century when this country had essentially suspended the death penalty. It didn’t last long.
First, in 1972, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Furman v. Georgia, opening the doors for capital punishment to be an accepted form of punishment should a state seek to…
Today, in the final part of our three part series: the record of errors in Florida’s use of lethal injection as a method of execution is discussed. Again, much of the language used here can be seen in any number of defensive motions filed in capital punishment matters across the state today.
Lethal Injection is the Most Commonly Botched Method of Execution
The history of execution by lethal injection in the United States is a miserable one. It has been characterized as the most commonly botched method of execution in the United States. Sims v. State, 754 So. 2d 657, 667, n.19 (Fla. 2000) (quoting the expert testimony of Professor Michael Radelet).
Since 1985, there have been at least twenty-one executions by lethal execution that were botched. Marion J. Borg and Michael Radelet, On Botched Executions in Capital Punishment: Strategies for Abolition 143-168 (Peter Hodgkinson and William Schabas eds., 2001). Lethal injection, meant to be the neat and modern execution method, [has been] plagued with problems, or execution glitches, as they are also referred to in the business. Stephen Trombley, THE EXECUTION PROTOCOL: INSIDE AMERICA’S CAPITAL PUNISHMENT INDUSTRY 14 (1992).
Some of The Horrific Examples of Botched Executions Using Lethal Injection
Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois have reported bungled attempts to dispatch prisoners by lethal injection. These mistakes include blow-outs, improperly inserted catheters (no doubt attributable to the fact that, for ethical reasons, physicians are not involved in the process), and the improper mixture of the lethal solution. Id. A few notable examples follow. 
Stephen Morin, in Texas, lay on the gurney for 45 minutes while technicians punctured him repeatedly in an attempt to find a vein suitable for injection. Denno, supra at 111.
In April, 1998, the needle popped out during Joseph Cannon’s execution, also in Texas. Seeing this, Cannon lay back, closed his eyes, and exclaimed to the witnesses, It’s come undone. Officials then pulled a curtain to block the view of witnesses, reopening it fifteen minutes later when a weeping Cannon made a second final statement and the execution process resumed. Borg & Radelet, supra at 143-168.
In Louisiana, witnesses to the April, 1997, execution of John Ashley Brown saw Brown go into violent convulsions after he was administered the drugs.
In May 1997, Oklahoma inmate Scott Dawn Carpenter shook uncontrollably, emitted guttural sounds and gasped for breath until his body stopped moving. Borg & Radelet, supra at 143- 168.
An attorney who witnessed the June, 2000, execution of Bert Leroy Hunter reported that Hunter had violent convulsions. His head and chest jerked rapidly upward as far as the gurney restraints would allow, and then he fell quickly down upon the gurney. His body convulsed back and forth repeatedly. Id.
Continue Reading In-Depth Look at the Law: Does the Florida Death Penalty by Lethal Injection Violate the Constitution? (Part 3)