California review of lethal injection reveals slip in execution of Crips co-founder

[JURIST] A California senior assistant attorney general testified Tuesday that the state of California failed to use a backup IV line during the execution of Crips gang co-founder and convicted murderer Stanley Tookie Williams [advocacy website] which unnecessarily complicated his execution. The testimony was gathered during a four-day federal court hearing [San Francisco Chronicle report] on whether lethal injection in California constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment [text] by posing a significant risk of unnecessary and severe pain for the condemned inmate. The backup line helps ensure a steady flow of drugs causing rapid death with minimal suffering.

Though the Tookie Williams execution [JURIST news archive] was not compromised by the mistake, other executions have gained national attention for failing to end the life of the condemned immediately. The botched Ohio execution of Joseph Clark [CantonRep report, registration required], where the execution was delayed for an hour-and-a-half when staff struggled to find a vein to administer the lethal injection cocktail, prompted Ohio's prison director to recommend changes to lethal injection policies [JURIST report]. Earlier this month, A federal judge ordered the state of Missouri [JURIST report] to submit new protocols for carrying out lethal injections and refused to authorize executions until revisions to state policy are approved. The Washington Post has more.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.