May 21, 2014
Eighth Circuit and SCOTUS staying (and then later unstaying?) Missouri's execution plans
As detailed in this AP story, now headlined "Missouri Inmate's Hopes Rest With Supreme Court," the federal judiciary has been getting in the way of Missouri's plans to execute a murderer today. Here are the details:
A Missouri inmate with a rare condition that affects the blood vessels was handed a reprieve less than two hours before his scheduled execution, but the state may end up killing him later Wednesday if the U.S. Supreme Court says it can.
Russell Bucklew was scheduled to be executed at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for the 1996 killing of a romantic rival. He would have been the first U.S. inmate put to death since last month's botched execution in Oklahoma, in which the prisoner's vein collapsed while the lethal drugs were being administered.
Bucklew, 46, has a condition that causes weakened and malformed veins, and his attorneys say this and the secrecy surrounding the state's lethal injection drug combine to make for an unacceptably high chance of something going wrong during his execution.
After an 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel suspended the execution Tuesday, only to be overruled hours later by the full court, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued his own stay, setting the stage for the full high court to weigh the appeal. If the Supreme Court rejects the appeal, Missouri would have until midnight to carry out the execution.
Mike O'Connell, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections, cautioned against reading too much into Alito's intervention. Alito handles emergency matters for states covered by the 8th Circuit, and two of the six inmates Missouri has executed since switching to a single-drug system in November had appeals that stretched well into the state's 24-hour execution window before the Supreme Court allowed the state to proceed. One of them was executed nearly 23 hours after he originally was scheduled to die....
Bucklew won't be getting help from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat and death-penalty proponent who rejected Bucklew's clemency request late Tuesday....
Missouri switched from a three-drug protocol to the single drug pentobarbital late last year. None of the six inmates executed since Missouri made the change has shown outward signs of pain or suffering.
May 21, 2014 at 09:07 AM | Permalink
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