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July 1, 2011

Lots of notable news and notes on the death penalty as second half of eventful 2011 begins

Though white-collar crime and punishment, and crack guideline retroactivity, were the most interesting sentencing story lines the last week of June, a new month starts with lots of very interesting capital punishment stories from lots of different states:

Meanwhile, the folks at DPIC provide this mid-year update on death penalty developments so far in 2011:

Between January and June 2011, there have been 25 executions in nine states.  Of the 25 executions, only eight were carried out using the drug sodium thiopental, while the rest involved a new drug, pentobarbital.  Earlier in 2011, Hospira Inc., the sole U.S. manufacturer of sodium thiopental, announced that it will no longer manufacture the drug, forcing states to search for alternative sources or alternative drugs for their lethal injection protocols. 

Many states, inlcuding Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and South Carolina, have used pentobarbital instead of sodium thiopental in their executions in 2011.  Ohio is the only one of those seven states to use pentobarbital as the sole drug in its lethal-injection process.  Additionally, at least five states (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina) that acquired sodium thiopental through an overseas source have had the drug seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

In the first half of 2011, there have been 18 death cases in which a clemency was granted, commuting the defendant's sentence to life without parole. Fifteen of such pardons were in Illinois, where Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill that repealed the state's death penalty statute. Illinois' death penalty repeal bill, which was signed on March 9, goes into effect today.

July 1, 2011 at 06:59 PM | Permalink


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