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December 8, 2006

The lethal mess in Ohio

A number of folks have noticed the mess that the obviously divided Sixth Circuit has been making of death penalty administration in recent years.  The latest lethal injection litigation developments have brought the issue to a new level of ugliness. 

As well covered by DPIC, Capital Defense Weekly and ODPI, earlier this week U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost in this fascinating ruling sharply criticized the lack of any clear guidance from the Sixth Circuit, lamenting a "morass of deadly ambiguity" on how to apply the law.  Here is a taste:

[T]his Court is now confronted with two different unreported decisions by two different [Sixth Circuit] appellate panels, both concerned with the same issues of law and both reaching wholly opposite, unexplained results....  This Court's inability to discern the appellate rationale for denying or granting a stay does not promote confidence in the system, does not promote consistency in court decisions, and does not promote the fundamental value of fairness that underlies any conception of justice.

December 8, 2006 at 04:22 PM | Permalink


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Frost isn't a paragon of judicial clarity either. Frost seems to think that when evaluating self-inflicted harm when weighing equities that cases where a party has engaged in sharp dealings are applicable to a situation where a party has asked for an interlocutory appeal.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 8, 2006 6:05:02 PM

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