Discussion:
death penalty news-----TEXAS, FLA., ARK., NEV., CALIF.
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Rick Halperin
2017-08-19 12:58:22 UTC
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August 19




TEXAS:

As lethal injection lawsuit continues, Texas replenishes execution drug
supplies



Even with a lawsuit over lethal injection drugs winding its way through court,
Texas has managed to replenish its supply.

The last doses of the state's execution drugs, pentobarbital, were set to
expire in January, just days before a scheduled execution. A new record
indicates that the supply won't expire until July 2018, well past all scheduled
executions.

It's unclear whether the state purchased more of the drug or just established a
new expiration date, and Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason
Clark declined to clarify.

Robert Dunham, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, wasn't
surprised to learn of the state's renewed stock.

"While Texas has from time to time stated that it's having difficulty obtaining
pentobarbital, it has always been able to obtain the drugs to carry out
executions," he said. "When it's needed the drugs, Texas has always found
them."

Since 2012, the state has used a single-drug protocol, administering a lethal
dose of the barbiturate pentobarbital.

On Thursday, the US Food and Drug Administration told Texas and Arizona that
over a thousand vials of drugs they ordered for executions in their states
would not be released to them. the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the
Arizona Department of Corrections ordered sodium thiopental from India in 2015.
The drugs were and seized by U.S. Customs. The confiscated shipments have been
refused because they seem to contain unapproved new drugs and misbranded drugs.

Texas came close to exhausting its supplies with executions still on the
calendar in spring 2015. Ultimately, TDCJ managed to get more of the lethal
drug, but Clark declined to offer details except to say that no executions in
the Lone Star State have been delayed due a lack of execution drugs.

A records request last month showed that eight pentobarbital doses were set to
expire in July 2017 and another 10 in January.

1 of those doses was used in the July 27 execution of Taichin Preyor, leaving 9
that expire just after the new year.

And now, instead of 8 doses expiring on July 20, 2017, state logs list eight
doses received that day as "return from supplier" and set to expire on July 20,
2018.

"Given the documents supplied by TDCJ designating that these vials were
returned to the supplier and then the reemergence of vials with a brand new
expiration date exactly one year out, an educated guess is that they're using
the same drugs that they previously stated already expired," said Maurie Levin,
a Texas death penalty lawyer with experience in lethal injection litigation.
"But because they insist on keeping this information secret, we don't know what
they're doing."

Currently, the state is embroiled in a lawsuit over an intercepted order of
another lethal injection drug, sodium thiopental. The powerful drug was part of
the execution process until 2011 when dwindling supplies forced the state to
replace it with pentobarbital as part of a 3-drug cocktail.

The following year, the state switched from a 3-drug mix to a single dose of
pentobarbital.

But when pentobarbital suppliers started drying up, Texas started searching for
other lethal injection drugs.

That search landed Texas in hot water when authorities at Bush Intercontinental
Airport seized 1,000 vials of sodium thiopental en route to Hunstville from
India-based supplier Harris Pharma.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration later said the drugs were improperly
labeled and not approved for injection in humans, but TDCJ this year filed a
lawsuit demanding the return of what state officials deemed an "unjustified
seizure."

Although the detained drugs appear to have expired in May, Texas has continued
its legal action, which also seeks to lift the FDA's ban on importation of
sodium thiopental for law-enforcement use.

(source: Houston Chronicle)

*******************

Execution set for man who killed cousin



A Mexican national on death row for the rape-slaying of his 16-year-old cousin
in the Rio Grnde Valley more than 20 years ago has received anexecution date.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said the agency has
received court documents setting the lethal injection of 47-year-old Tuben
Ramirez Cardenas for Nov. 8.

Cardenas was convicted of the February 1997 slaying of Mayra Laguna. Her body
was found dumped in a a canal near Edinburg, about 10 miles northeast of
McAllen, after she was abducted from her home. Evidence showed he slipped in
through a window, bound her with duct tape and drove her away. Evidence showed
whe was raped, beaten and strangled.

Prison records list Cardenas as originally from Guanajuato in central Mexico.

(source: Dallas Morning News)








FLORIDA----impending execution

Sister hopeful brother's looming execution will be blocked----Man who killed 2
in Jacksonville in 1987 set for execution next week



With 6 days until the execution of death row inmate Mark Asay, his sister said
Friday that lawyers are fighting tooth and nail as they try to introduce new
evidence and receive a stay from the Florida Supreme Court.

Asay, 53, who was convicted in 1988 of the murders of Robert Lee Booker and
Robert McDowell in downtown Jacksonville, is scheduled to be the first inmate
executed in Florida since Oscar Ray Bolin on Jan. 7, 2016.

But Asay's sister, Gloria Dean, said he's not going down without clearing his
name. During an interview with News4Jax, Dean reacted to the Florida Supreme
Court refusing to hear new evidence and block her brother's scheduled execution
date of Aug. 24.

Asay, who was sentenced to death nearly 3 decades ago, was 1 of 2 death row
inmates whose executions were put on hold by the Florida Supreme Court in early
2016 after the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case known as Hurst v. Florida, struck
down as unconstitutional the state's death penalty sentencing system. Lawmakers
later revamped the sentencing system.

Lawyers for Asay have been trying to get the execution blocked, saying the
lethal injection drugs the state uses amount to cruel and unusual punishment,
and can cause inmates to suffer.

Rejecting those arguments, the Florida Supreme Court on Monday refused to
blocked the execution set for next week.

Dean, an avid collector of photos, showed News4Jax she's now collecting
documents that, if accepted by the Florida Supreme Court, could grant Asay a
stay.

"(The new evidence) is many things. The way they handled this case in the
beginning. The fact that they convicted him of killing black people and he
didn't," Dean said.

In a petition to the court, Asay's attorney states the ballistic evidence
presented by the state was materially inaccurate under the Eight Amendment, and
the evidence that showed the same gun used in both homicides was flawed and
unreliable.

On top of that, the petition states the state failed to disclose favorable
evidence, such as police reports and information, that wasn't provided at the
time of trial or during the prior collateral proceedings. Asay's counsel didn't
receive that information until last year.

With 9 justices on the Supreme Court, Asay will need five of them to stay his
execution. Dean has been talking with her brother's attorney, and she said they
are hopeful.

"(If) we get this stay, we can have more time to move," Dean said. "He feels
like we have that chance, like he told me. And he said we may not win, but he's
going to give it his best shot."

(source: news4jax.com)

**************************

First Palm Beach County trial under new death penalty law starting in 1987
murder



Angela Fader Sampler turned 40 this year, but the milestone was bittersweet -
it's now been 30 years since her mother was strangled to death near Lake Worth.

But the sad anniversary comes with a fresh hope for justice for Dana Fader's
loved ones because her alleged killer, Rodney Clark, finally is set to stand
trial. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in a case that had gone cold
for over 2 decades.

"We're ready for some kind of closure," said Sampler, a southeast Tennessee
resident speaking also for her younger brothers, Kolby and Johnny, who were 5
and 3 when they lost their mom. "Whether it's life in prison, death, just to
know he's going to pay for his crime."

It's the 1st death penalty case to be tried in Palm Beach County since Florida
got a new death penalty law in March, and for more than 3 years before that.
Unanimous jury votes are now required to impose a death sentence.

The case against the Mississippi man, 50, didn't emerge until 2012, and that
was 6 years after detectives reopened the long cold case hoping for a DNA match
to evidence collected from the crime scene.

Body found in car

On the morning of June 20, 1987, Fader's mother, Phyllis Manis, called police
to report she was missing from the apartment Fader shared with her older
brother, Joseph Bailey, and Fader's youngest child.

According to court records, Fader had been out the night before with her older
sister Martha Bailey until about 2 a.m. Joseph Bailey told detectives that
Fader, upon returning home, removed eggs and sausage from their refrigerator
and also announced plans to visit her boyfriend in the same Willow Lakes
Apartments complex.

Bailey said he went to sleep but awoke at 9 a.m. to the smell of sausage
burning in a pan on the stove. Fader's purse was in the unit, but she was gone.

As deputies were talking to Fader's mother, her stepfather, Kenneth Manis,
delivered the news that Fader's 1980 Ford Fairmont was parked on 1 side of the
complex, on the corner of Florida Mango Road and 10th Avenue.

Rodney Clark, 49, formerly of Jackson, Miss., is awaiting trial on a 1st-degree
murder charge in the June 1987 strangulation death of Dana Fader, 27, of
suburban Lake Worth. Prosecutors want to seek the death penalty, and are
appealing after the trial judge said no.

Detectives looked inside the car and found Fader's lifeless body on the back
seat, with her head toward the rear driver's side and her feet bent slightly in
the rear passenger seat. The keys were in the ignition.

Fader was still wearing the same tan dress as the night before, but it was
pulled up around her waist, exposing her lower body without underwear to be
found, a police report said. A semen-stained pillowcase was found partially
covering her left leg, and her shoes were located in the front floorboards of
the car. Her belt was also found in the front and a scarf and pantyhose in the
back.

Investigators also discovered pieces of a rope inside and outside of the car;
Joseph Bailey said he had used the rope to tie up a bicycle. And a blanket was
found hanging from the right rear passenger window.

An autopsy concluded that Fader was strangled; finger imprint marks were on her
neck, and the right side of her face was scratched. A "bite mark-like injury"
was found on one nipple, a report said. The divorced mother of 3 and seamstress
for a family business was 27.

Detectives make an arrest

In late 2012, investigators using a national DNA database matched Clark's DNA -
he was by then a convicted sex offender - to a blood and semen stain found on
Fader's dress. Clark also "could not be excluded" from the DNA from the
pillowcase, according to a report.

Finally, Clark's palm print was matched to one taken from the outside right
rear window of Fader's sedan.

Located in Jackson, Miss., Clark told detectives he lived in Palm Beach County
in 1987 but denied ever knowing or coming in contact with Fader, having sexual
relations with her or being in her car. Clark was arrested on the murder charge
and extradited to South Florida in 2013.

Clark, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, also said he wasn't concerned
about the DNA, according to a statement that his legal team, led by Public
Defender Carey Haughwout, had tried to keep out of the trial.

"They can have DNA," Clark said. "I ain't killed nobody. I don't give a damn
what [they] got."

And in a 2015 statement, Clark wrote to the court, "I am innocent of any crime
committed against Dana Fader and I want to go to trial."

Because it's a capital case and the trial could take a month, the lawyers and
Circuit Judge Charles Burton have spent the past week interviewing 315 people
to find a panel of a dozen jurors. Jury selection could conclude Friday, with
opening statements then likely on Monday.

Before they reach a potential sentencing phase, prosecutors Aleathea McRoberts
and Reid Scott first need to obtain a 1st-degree murder conviction of Clark.

Angela Fader Sampler says she and her family have no doubt Clark is responsible
for the murder.

"We think they got the right guy," she told the Sun Sentinel. "I don't see how
it could be wrong."

(source: Sun-Sentinel)








ARKANSAS:

Arkansas paid $250 cash for lethal injection drugs



4 months after Arkansas raced against the clock to execute four men before its
supply of a lethal injection drug expired, the state bought a new supply from
an unknown source earlier this month, BuzzFeed News reported Thursday.

Records obtained by BuzzFeed News show the director of the state corrections
department, Wendy Kelly, paid $250 cash for 40 vials of midazolam - a sedative
used as the 1st of 3 drugs in a lethal injection cocktail - on Aug. 4 and later
filled out paperwork to be reimbursed for the purchase. A department spokesman
said 40 vials is enough for 2 executions.

Arkansas is one of several death penalty states that have put executions on
hold because of shortages in lethal injection drugs; many have resorted to
drastic measures to obtain drugs or considered other execution methods.

Arkansas' secrecy law lets the state keep details of how officials obtained the
drugs private. Lawmakers argue the law is necessary to keep the manufacturers
of the drugs hidden amid growing scrutiny of the death penalty. Capital
attorneys say that the law prevents them from challenging lethal injection
protocols in court. There are concerns about midazolam's effectiveness as an
anesthetic after several botched executions involving the drug, including the
gruesome 2014 execution of Joseph Wood in Arizona.

Arkansas is gearing up to use the new drugs before they expire in January 2019.
The state attorney general on Thursday asked Gov. Asa Hutchinson to set a date
for the execution of Jack Greene, 62, who has been on death row since 1991,
when he was convicted of killing a minister.

Greene's attorney is fighting the execution order and said Greene has
"well-documented brain damage and mental illness." 3 of 4 inmates Arkansas
executed in April showed signs of mental illness, according to a report from
Harvard Law School's Fair Punishment Project.

"Capital punishment should not be used on vulnerable people like the severely
mentally ill. We hope Governor Hutchinson will refrain from setting an
execution date for Mr. Greene since he is not competent for execution," the
attorney, John Williams, said in a statement.

In an interview, Williams said he is also looking into how Arkansas got the
drugs. "It's troubling that now all their drugs come from these
side-of-the-road suppliers," he said.

During the state's execution spree in April, pharmaceutical manufacturer
West-Ward, which makes midazolam, filed an amicus brief asking a federal judge
to stay the executions because it did not want its product used. But the state
went forward with 4 of 8 planned executions. Eyewitnesses at Kenneth Williams'
execution in April said he convulsed on the gurney long after midazolam should
have knocked him unconscious. Lawyers for another executed man, Jack Jones,
said he "gulped for air" before he died.

West-Ward said in a statement that the company has "no reason to believe" that
Arkansas purchased its midazolam: "We are aware of the risk of our products
being diverted in the U.S. for use in lethal injection protocols and
accordingly, we control their sale as tightly as we can."

(source: Vice News)

*****************

Arkansas Abolish responds to execution date request



The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has responded to Attorney
General Leslie Rutledge's request for an execution date for an Arkansas Inmate.

Rutledge requested the execution date for inmate Jack Greene Thursday evening
following an acknowledgment by Governor Hutchinson's office that the state has
received more of the drug Midazolam.

Arkansas Abolish released the following statement:

Yesterday, Governor Asa Hutchinson's office acknowledged that the state of
Arkansas has acquired more midazolam. As a result, Attorney General Leslie
Rutledge has asked Governor Hutchinson to set an execution date for Jack
Greene, a 62 year old severely mentally disabled man who has been on Arkansas
death row for nearly 25 years.

Jack Greene's Attorney, John C. Williams, has released a statement regarding
his client's mental state, "Greene has well-documented brain damage and mental
illness. He has long suffered from a fixed delusion that the Arkansas
Department of Correction is conspiring with his attorneys to cover up injuries
that he believes corrections officers have inflicted upon him. He complains
that his spinal cord has been removed and his central nervous system has been
destroyed. He believes he will be executed to cover up what he calls these
"crimes against humanity." Mr. Greene's severe somatic delusions cause him to
constantly twist his body and stuff his ear and nose with toilet paper to cope
with the pain. By doing so, Mr. Greene frequently causes himself to bleed, as
can been seen in the... photo".

The Arkansas Department of Corrections took the picture of Jack Greene down
from their website yesterday, and hope to cover up the obvious problems with
executing a man as severely mentally ill as Jack Greene.

Apparently, our Governor and Attorney General have learned nothing from the
horrors our state faced during their April plan to execute 8 men in 10 days.
Please stand with us by calling the Governor, at 501-682-2345, and asking him
to refrain from setting an execution date for Jack Greene. Jack Greene is not
competent to be executed, and capital punishment should not be used on
vulnerable people like the severely mentally ill. Tell the Governor that
Arkansans are tired of these killings and the international shame that it
brings on our state!

In Solidarity,

The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

(source: KATV news)








NEVADA:

Nevada plan to use untried execution drugs draws criticism



Prison officials in Nevada drew immediate criticism Friday for proposing an
untried 3-drug combination for the scheduled Nov. 14 lethal injection of a
twice-convicted murderer who says he wants his execution sentence carried out.

The state has supplies of the sedative diazepam, the powerful synthetic opioid
fentanyl and the muscle paralytic cisatracurium it proposes to use to carry out
the execution of 46-year-old Scott Raymond Dozier, Nevada Department of
Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Keast said.

Nevada, like other states, is struggling to obtain execution drugs because
European pharmaceutical companies began blocking the use of their products for
lethal injections.

Prison administrators didn't immediately respond to questions including who
will have the final say about what drugs are used, how the three medications
were obtained, what order they would be administered and who will be in the Ely
State Prison death chamber for Dozier's execution, which would be the 1st in
the state in 11 years.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and an official at the Berkeley
Law Death Penalty Clinic in California raised other questions, and said they
fear Dozier will suffer and suffocate while he's conscious and paralyzed, but
that observers won't be able to tell.

We don't know how this will go," said Jen Moreno, a death penalty clinic
attorney involved in lethal injection challenges in other states. "When we've
asked that question before, it has not gone well."

Moreno said Nevada didn't release a plan, just a list of drugs including
cisatracurium that could "mask any signs of pain and suffering or problems that
might occur with breathing," and fentanyl that can slow breathing to a stop.

Neither drug has been used in executions before, she said.

Moreno referred to the 2014 executions of Dennis McGuire in Ohio and Joseph
Rudolph Wood III in Arizona. Both gasped and snorted for nearly 30 minutes
before they were pronounced dead. Both Ohio and Arizona used a two-drug method
starting with the sedative midazolam that each state later abandoned.

"What we saw in those executions was a prolonged struggle to breathe, and
movement," Moreno said. "The paralytic would mask the struggle and the
movement, but wouldn't mean it wasn't going on."

ACLU officials criticized Nevada lawmakers for leaving to prison officials
decisions about how executions are carried out, beyond the requirement that
they be by lethal injection.

"This experimental combination of drugs has never been used for lethal
injection in any state, and it must be reviewed by the court to ensure it
complies with all state and federal laws," ACLU executive Tod Story said.

"Use of these drugs could result in a botched execution, leading to torture or
a lingering death," he said.

Dozier, 46, was convicted of 2 murders in 2002, in Phoenix and Las Vegas. He
was sentenced to death in 2007.

Dozier isn't appealing his sentence and told a state court judge in Las Vegas
on Thursday he wants his sentence carried out, and that he isn't concerned
about pain and suffering.

His attorney, Thomas Ericsson, has been joined by federal public defenders in a
request this week for Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti to
require prisons officials to answer more than 20 questions about the Nevada
execution process, drug dosages and the qualifications and training of
execution team members.

The judge is due next Thursday to schedule hearings on those issues.

(source: Associated Press)








CALIFORNIA:

Death Penalty Off the Table for Shooter Who Killed Eight in Seal Beach Salon
Massacre----Dekraai pleaded guilty in May 2014, so the only issue to resolve is
his punishment



The man behind the worst mass murder in Orange County history will not face the
death penalty.

A Superior Court judge ruled Friday that execution should be taken off the
table for 47-year-old Scott Dekraai, who pleaded guilty to killing eight people
in the October 2011 mass shooting at a Seal Beach Salon.

Dekraai pleaded guilty in May 2014, so the only issue to resolve is his
punishment. Judge Thomas Goethals' ruling, the result of a third round of
evidentiary hearings stemming from widespread abuses of a jailhouse informant
program, likely means a case mired in legal limbo will finally come to an end
with the killer's sentencing.

Dekraii was scheduled for a Sept. 22 sentencing.

Because Dekraai pleaded guilty, there would be no more appeals if he is
sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It would also
end legal proceedings regarding allegations of abuses of the jailhouse
informant program that Dekraai's attorney has pursued for the past several
years.

In January 2014, defense attorneys filed a 500-plus-page motion alleging
widespread misconduct in the use of jailhouse informants to obtain information
to help investigators.

Goethals removed execution as a sentencing option because he determined law
enforcement could not guarantee a fair trial in the penalty phase. Dekraai's
attorney, Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders, argued that his client
cannot trust the county to turn over all favorable evidence, so he could never
be sure he'll ever get a fair hearing.

Legal delays mounted for the victims' families as Goethals investigated
allegations that deputies withheld evidennce and used jailhouse informants to
illegally obtain confessions from inmates.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department issued a statement after the ruling.

"We are disappointed by today's ruling. The facts in this case clearly
supported a death penalty verdict," the statement said. On October 12, 2011,
Scott Dekraai executed and confessed to the deadliest shooting in the history
of Orange County, long before he was booked into the Orange County Jail.
Notwithstanding the issues that were raised by the Court???s ruling, we believe
the defendant would have received a fair trial during the penalty phase of the
criminal proceedings. The decision to remove the death penalty rests at the
feet of Judge Geothals and nobody else."

A family member of 2 of Scott Dekraai's victims appealed to state prosecutors
earlier this year to drop the death penalty. Bethany Webb made her appeal to
officials from the Attorney General's Office following a hearing in Dekraai's
case. Her sister, Laura Webb Elody, was among those killed in the 2011 deadly
ambush at a Seal Beach beauty salon, which their mother, Hattie Stretz,
survived.

Webb said 90 to 95 percent of the victims' families wanted the attorney general
to stop pursuing the ultimate punishment for Dekraai.

"We don't want to come here anymore," Webb said. "I'm begging the judge to
realize how broken this is and to set us free."

Webb also told Goethals during the hearing that she appealed to state
prosecutors prior an announcement that they will continue to pursue capital
punishment for Dekraai. She said she had asked that they take the death penalty
off the table and let the defendant be sentenced to life in prison without the
possibility of parole.

Dekraai had an argument with his ex-wife, Michelle Marie Fournier, over the
phone before he went on his deadly rampage against her and the other victims at
the Salon Meritage on Oct. 12, 2011. He drove to the salon at 500 Pacific Coast
Highway about 1:20 p.m., walked up to his 48-year-old ex-wife -- with whom he
was embroiled in a child support dispute -- and shot her multiple times.

After he gunned down Fournier, he turned his gun on 47-year-old Christy Wilson
because she had testified against him in a child support hearing.

The shop's owner, 62-year-old Randy Lee Fannin, ran up to try to stop him with
a pair of scissors, so Dekraai opened fire and killed him, as well, then
started shooting random people inside the salon.

Elody, 46, Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54, Lucia Berniece Kondas, 65, and Michele
Dashbach Fast, 47, died at the scene.

Dekraai gunned down his last victim, 64-year-old David Caouette, as the victim
sat in his Range Rover, which was parked next to the gunman's vehicle outside
the salon. Dekraai told investigators he thought Caouette was an off-duty or
undercover police officer.

(source: nbclosangeles.com)
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