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August 30, 2006

South Dakota Governor halts execution over lethal injection concerns

For weeks, it appeared that South Dakota was sure to have its first execution in over a half-century.  But, as detailed here, a funny thing happened on the way to the death chamber:

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds put a stop to the state's first execution in 59 years, just hours before it was scheduled to take place.  Elijah Page, 24, had requested the state put him to death by lethal injection.  He was convicted of torturing and killing a man in 2000.

Rounds concluded that state law describing how lethal drugs should be administered is obsolete.  He then halted the execution....  Rounds says, "I will not have the individuals responsible for carrying out this execution to be placed in a position to where they would be or could be in violation of a state statute in the carrying out of an execution... We could have had people wondering for the rest of their lives if they did the right thing." 

The execution is now delayed until July 1, 2007.  [Rounds] says that will give lawmakers time to review the law, and amend it so that it will match other states that use lethal injection.

This AP story has details about this surprising development in South Dakota.  Tellingly, while execution plans were disrupted up north, due south in Oklahoma a scheduled lethal injection went forward.  This Reuters story provides the details of the execution of Eric Allen Patton and the rejection of his lethal injection claims.

Some recent posts on lethal injection issues:

August 30, 2006 at 05:21 AM | Permalink

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