The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Maya Srikrishnan, Los Angeles Times

Attorneys for six death row prisoners in Arizona filed a lawsuit against state officials Thursday alleging “human experimentation” in executions.

Arizona death row inmate Joseph Wood, one of the plaintiffs, asked a federal court to stop his scheduled July 23 execution, protesting the state’s new two-drug protocol.

The 21-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court states the Arizona Department of Corrections plans to use midazolam and hydromorphone for the first time.

Since 2011, Arizona has been using pentobarbital for executions, but the state sent Wood’s lawyer a letter in April saying it was using this new combination because it can no longer procure pentobarbital, according to the complaint.

“I really think they’re making it up as they go along,” Dale Baich, Wood’s attorney, told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday. “This type of review is necessary to ensure they’re complying with constitutional standards.”

The complaint cites the Jan. 16 execution in Ohio of Dennis McGuire that was the first to use this drug combination.

Witnesses to the Ohio execution said “McGuire started struggling and gasping loudly for air, making snorting and choking sounds which lasted for at least 10 minutes, with his chest heaving and his fist clenched. Deep, rattling sounds emanated from his mouth,” according to the complaint.

Ohio’s executions are temporarily on hold while a federal court reviews the state’s execution protocol.

The complaint also states that nearly one-third of the executions using midazolam have had problems, citing the executions of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma and William Happ in Florida. These executions went wrong in similar ways — the prisoner appeared to fall asleep but then started moving again.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office said they were in the process of reviewing the complaint, and would not provide further comment.
Wood, 55, was sentenced to death for killing his estranged girlfriend and her father at a Tucson auto-body shop in 1989.

Two of the attorneys for this lawsuit also have clients in Oklahoma and were part of the lawsuit filed Wednesday against Oklahoma regarding its execution protocols.

Photo: x1klima via Flickr

Interested in national news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Levin

Politico reported Friday that John Eastman, the disgraced ex-law professor who formulated many of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, was also apparently in communication with Fox News host Mark Levin. The story gets even more interesting from there, revealing the shell game that right-wing media personalities engage in while doubling as political operatives.

A legal filing by Eastman’s attorneys reveals that, among the messages Eastman is still attempting to conceal from the House January 6 committee are 12 pieces of correspondence with an individual matching Levin’s description as “a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.” Other details, including a sloppy attempt to redact an email address, also connect to Levin, who did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Wendy Rogers

Youtube Screenshot

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}