death penalty news----FLA., NEB., IDAHO, NEV., CALIF., USA
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Rick Halperin
2017-09-01 14:06:43 UTC
Sept. 1


State Supreme Court Backs Gov. Scott On Shifting Death Penalty Cases

The Florida Supreme Court has upheld Governor Rick Scott's authority to
transfer potential capital-punishment cases away from Orlando-area State
Attorney Aramis Ayala because of her refusal to seek the death penalty.

In recent months, Scott has transferred cases from Ayala's office to Ocala-area
State Attorney Brad King.

Ayala, who was elected last year as state attorney in the 9th Judicial Circuit,
argued that Scott overstepped his authority. But in a 5-2 decision, the Supreme
Court backed the governor.

"The governor's orders do not direct King to seek the death penalty in any of
the reassigned cases, and King has sworn that the governor has not attempted to
interfere with his determination as to whether to pursue the death penalty in
any case," said the majority opinion, written by Justice Alan Lawson. "Rather,
consistent with the governor's constitutional duty, effectuated pursuant to his
statutory assignment authority, the executive orders ensure the faithful
execution of Florida law by guaranteeing that the death penalty - while never
mandatory - remains an option in the death-penalty eligible cases in the Ninth
Circuit, but leaving it up to King, as the assigned state attorney, to
determine whether to seek the death penalty on a case-by-case basis."

(source: CBS Miami)


State Attorney Ayala established death penalty review panel after Supreme Court

Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced she has organized a death penalty
review panel to examine first-degree murder cases after the Florida Supreme
Court ruled Thursday that Gov. Rick Scott has the authority to take death
penalty cases away from her.

"With implementation of this Panel, it is my expectation that going forward all
1st-degree murder cases that occur in my jurisdiction will remain in my office
and be evaluated and prosecuted accordingly," Ayala said in a statement.

Ayala announced in March that she will not seek the death penalty in any case.
Supreme Court Justice C. Alan Lawson cited the catch-all policy in an opinion
released Thursday, declining to give Ayala's office 29 death penalty cases that
Scott assigned to another prosecutor using executive orders.

Ayala did not immediately say who the 7 prosecutors will be, or if the death
penalty will be a possibility they consider.

"Far from being unreasoned or arbitrary ... the reassignments are predicated
upon 'good and sufficient reason,' namely Ayala's blanket refusal to pursue the
death penalty in any case despite Florida law establishing the death penalty as
an appropriate sentence under certain circumstances," Lawson wrote.

The court was split 5-2, with Justices Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince

"The Governor's decision in this case fundamentally undermines the
constitutional role of duly elected State Attorneys," Quince wrote.

Scott called the decision a "great victory."

"Crimes like these are pure evil and deserve the absolute full consideration of
punishment - something that State Attorney Ayala completely ruled out," Scott
said in a statement. "She unilaterally decided to not stand on the side of
victims and their families, which is completely sickening. In Florida, we hold
criminals fully accountable for the crimes they commit - especially those that
attack our law enforcement community and innocent children."

Ayala, who took office in January, announced March 16 that she will not seek
the death penalty for anyone as the region's top prosecutor. She said research
showed the death penalty was unevenly applied, put families through
decades-long ordeals, and did not deter serious crimes, among other reasons.

She did not publicly express any opinions about the death penalty during her
campaign, in which she defeated incumbent State Attorney Jeff Ashton in an
August 2016 primary open only to registered democrats. Ayala did not face
general election opposition on the November ballot.

Scott responded to her March announcement by signing executive orders taking
death penalty cases away from her office and assigning them to State Attorney
Brad King of Ocala, starting with the case of Markeith Loyd, accused of
first-degree murder in the killings of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon,
and an Orlando police office, Lt. Debra Clayton.

Since March, Scott has reassigned 29 cases from Ayala to King. 2 have gone to
trial under King with the help of prosecutors from Ayala's office who had
already been working on them: Juan Rosario of Orange County, who robbed
83-year-old Elena Ortega's home, beat her with a blunt object, and set fires in
her house; and Larry Perry of St. Cloud, who killed his infant son Ayden when
he would not stop crying.

Jurors found both men guilty of 1st-degree murder and unanimously recommended
the death penalty for both. Neither has been formally sentenced.

Ayala filed 2 lawsuits in April, 1 with the Supreme Court of Florida and 1 in
federal court. In the Supreme Court case, Ayala asked justices to determine
whether Scott has the legal authority to reassign the cases. The federal case
was on hold until the Florida court issued its decision.

Scott has used the state's in-house legal counsel to represent him in the suit.
Ayala hired Roy Austin, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer.

In oral arguments in June, Austin said that the governor was taking away
Ayala's prosecutorial discretion. State attorneys should be able to decide how
to pursue their cases independently and without political interference, he

Lawson, the Florida Supreme Court justice, addressed the argument in his
written opinion Thursday.

"By effectively banning the death penalty in the Ninth Circuit - as opposed to
making case-specific determinations as to whether the facts of each
death-penalty eligible case justify seeking the death penalty - Ayala has
exercised no discretion at all," Lawson wrote. "... Ayala's blanket refusal to
seek the death penalty in any eligible case, including a case that 'absolutely
deserve[s] [the] death penalty' does not reflect an exercise of prosecutorial
discretion; it embodies, at best, a misunderstanding of Florida law."

(source: Orlando Sentinel)


FADP Statement on Florida Supreme Court Denial of Aramis Ayala's Petition

On Thursday, August 31, The Florida Supreme Court denied Ninth Judicial Circuit
State Attorney Aramis Ayala's petition for return of potential death penalty
cases removed from her jurisdiction by Executive Order of Gov. Rick Scott. The
State Attorney's office handles cases in Orange and Osceola Counties. Ayala has
announced the formation of a Death Penalty Review Panel.

Responding to the ruling, Mark Elliott, director of Floridians for Alternatives
to the Death Penalty stated:

"Today's ruling does not deny the truth of Aramis Ayala's criticisms of
Florida's chaotic and fatally-flawed death penalty: that it's much harder on
victim's families, wastes precious crime-fighting dollars, and does nothing to
make Floridians and their families safer. FADP supports the initial decision of
State Attorney Aramis Ayala as both smart and tough on crime."

"State Attorney Ayala demonstrated her steadfast devotion to the safety and
well-being of Florida families by shifting the focus to bringing more criminals
to justice and preventing violent crimes. Expensive, wasteful, and
time-consuming death penalty show trials do nothing to prevent violent crime or
help victim's families in immediate and meaningful ways."

"Death penalty trials squander huge amounts of limited criminal justice
dollars. Trying to obtain death sentences and resentences could cost Florida
taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over and above the cost of sentencing
those same people to life in prison with no parole."

Court records indicate that in the 8 years prior to Ayala's taking office, her
jurisdiction had a total of 1 new death sentence - Bessman Okafor, November 17,
2015. The previous death sentence was for Dane Abdool, May 12, 2008.

"Only 1 new death sentence in 8 years refutes the arguments of Gov. Scott that
using the death penalty is critical for justice. It makes no sense that, only
now, not using death sentencing by policy or practice creates an emergency and
is 'good and sufficient reason' to reassign cases."

(source: Mark Elliott, Executive Director; Floridians for Alternatives to the
Death Penalty)


Representative Bob Cortes Asks Governor Scott to Suspend Aramis Ayala

After the Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that Orange-Osceola State Attorney had
"exercised no discretion" and demonstrated a "misunderstanding of Florida law,"
state Representative Bob Cortes asked the Governor to suspend Aramis Ayala.

In a letter to the Governor, Cortes wrote the following: "Now that the Supreme
Court has affirmed that you are well within your legal rights as Governor to
reassign her cases, I respectfully request again that you suspend State
Attorney Ayala from her position on the Ninth Judicial Circuit on the basis of
Article IV Section 7 of the Florida Constitution. The citizens of the Ninth
Circuit deserve to have a State Attorney who will seek justice and not abuse
her prosecutorial discretion."

The dispute arose from Ayala's decision to not pursue the death penalty in any
cases in her district, an announcement that came following the arrest of
alleged cop killer Markeith Lloyd. At that time, Representative Cortes called
on the Governor to remove the cases from her and reassign to a prosecutor who
would not rule out the death penalty. The Governor has since reassigned 24
potential death penalty cases.

"By her dictating that she's not going to follow what we have set in parameters
or law, she's actually rewriting the law," Cortes said back in May. "That's the
job reserved for the legislature."

The Florida Supreme Court seemed to agree, citing previous court decisions
which found "The Legislature, in its wisdom, has empowered the Governor to
exchange and assign State Attorneys between judicial circuits."

Ayala's tenure has been rocky from the start. After her announcement that she
would not pursue the death penalty in any case, the state legislature attempted
to remove funding from the office to direct funds to the offices which are now
prosecuting the cases the Governor transferred.

(source: orlando-politics.com)


Death sentences vacated in Flagler County double murder

In one in a series of similar rulings this year, the Florida Supreme Court on
Thursday ordered a new sentencing proceeding for a death row inmate convicted
of killing his former girlfriend and a man in 2007 in Flagler County.

Justices upheld the 1st-degree murder convictions of William Gregory in the
deaths of Skyler Dawn Meekins and Daniel Arthur Dyer.

The pair were fatally shot with a shotgun while they slept together at Meekins'

A circuit judge sentenced Gregory to death after a jury recommended by 7-5
votes that he face the death penalty.

But the Florida Supreme Court, in a 5-2 opinion Thursday, vacated Gregory's
sentences because of a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case known as Hurst
v. Florida and a subsequent Florida Supreme Court decision.

The 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling found Florida's death-penalty sentencing
system was unconstitutional because it gave too much authority to judges,
instead of juries. The subsequent Florida Supreme Court decision said juries
must unanimously agree on critical findings before judges can impose death
sentences and must unanimously recommend the death penalty.

The majority opinion Thursday said Gregory's death sentences did not meet those

"In Gregory's case, we conclude that the state cannot establish that the Hurst
error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt," Thursday's ruling said. "Here,
the jury neither unanimously made the requisite factual findings nor
unanimously recommended a sentence of death. Instead, the jury recommended both
of Gregory's death sentences by a vote of 7 to 5."

(source: news4jax.com)


I witnessed death in Florida

I will never look at a yellow number 2 pencil the same way again.

I was one of the press witnesses to the 1st execution to occur in Florida in
more than a year. Mark Asay was put to death for the murders of Robert Lee
Booker and Robert McDowell via lethal injection Aug. 24.

That morning I was driving the 5 hours from Navarre to the Florida State Prison
in Raiford. I was nervous. I'm young and the idea of watching a man breathe his
last breath was turning my stomach into knots.

The song "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw came on the radio, and I
began to giggle and hyperventilate at the same time. The sound of it was
hilarious, I'm sure.

It was not just the thought of watching death, but the whole institution of it
that was bothering me. For months I had been covering the ins and outs of
Florida's capital punishment. I had talked to stark proponents and adamant

And still I was conflicted. How could there be justice in waiting 30 years
before carrying out someone's sentence? How could there be justice in state
sanctioned murder, especially when we have gotten it wrong?

And how was I supposed to sit silently and watch something so terrible as
death? Weren't humans supposed to run from things like this?

When I arrived across the street from the prison at the media staging area it
was hot - miserably hot and sunny. The rain storms would not hit for several
hours. While waiting I met a reporter named John Coch. John has seen every
execution in Florida since the electric chair sent Ted Bundy to the grave.

That's 74 executions in all.

John's a fast talker, and he jumps from thought to thought at times too quickly
to follow. He's given more to smiling and laughter it seems, though to hear
some of his past gave me a chill.

He reassured me that fear was necessary to be brave enough to watch death. He
said the death penalty is necessary. He said only once did he not adamantly
believe that the person before him deserved what was coming. For him it was
black and white.

After being escorted into the prison, they took us to the visiting canteen to
wait. It's a relatively empty room except for vending machines and some tables
that resemble a hybrid of stop signs and cheap playground equipment.

There the prison staff handed out manila folders containing a small notepad and
2 yellow pencils. We were transported to the execution chamber. It's a cramped
room with 4 rows of chairs. It's silence except for the ugly moan of the A/C
and the rain that is now pouring outside.

Like some cramped, grotesque theater, we all waited for the curtain to come up.
And then it did.

I felt sort of distant from myself as we watched and notated the process. It
took just a few minutes, then a human being was gone.

I felt nothing significant about it to be honest. It would not really bother me
until days later as a friend spun a yellow pencil about in his fingers for a
magic trick. I'm still not sure what I feel about it.

After it was all said and done, I met Herman Lindsey among the dispersing, rain
soaked protestors outside the prison. Herman is the 27th person to be
exonerated from Florida's death row.

Herman is a well-spoken black man. He spoke optimistically about ending capital
punishment in the state.

Herman had been accused of killing a pawn shop owner during a robbery, but
further court hearings determined that there was not enough evidence to place
Herman at the pawn shop let alone pulling the trigger.

I could not imagine him hurting anybody. As we stood in the rain, he refused an
umbrella because he did not want that person to get wet.

Meeting him highlighted one of my biggest fears: Florida gets it wrong.

"We the People" have killed innocent men in the pursuit of justice.

I have always believed that there are some people who, through their own
violent actions, have forfeited the right to live in our society.

Every life has value, but death is the penance for taking that potential from
another person.

Yet it is in the process that my faith is shaken, and after witnessing it
firsthand I am even less sure.

(source: Editorial, Jamie Gentry; Navarre Press)


Judge allows Chicago-based attorneys to withdraw from representing convicted
killer Anthony Garcia

A judge Thursday allowed the Chicago-based Motta Law Firm to withdraw from
representing quadruple-killer Anthony Garcia.

Robert Motta Sr. and Robert Motta Jr. had requested a hearing so they could
formally withdraw from the murder case.

Douglas County District Judge Gary Randall appointed the Nebraska Commission on
Public Advocacy to exclusively represent Garcia during the death-penalty phase
of his case.

Garcia faces life in prison or a death sentence after a jury convicted him in
October 2016 of the revenge-fueled killings of Thomas Hunter, 11, and Shirlee
Sherman in March 2008 and the May 2013 killings of Dr. Roger Brumback and his
wife, Mary, both 65.

(source: Omaha World-Herald)


Canyon County Public Defender considering death penalty defense agreement with
Ada County

The Canyon County Public Defender's Office is looking into a possible agreement
with Ada County for handling legal defenses in death penalty cases.

The Canyon County office does not have anyone certified to be the lead attorney
in a death penalty trial, Public Defender Krista Howard said. One person in the
office is certified to be 2nd chair on a death penalty trial, she said.

The process of becoming certified to be a 1st-chair attorney on a death penalty
case involves training and experience, including sitting through a death
penalty case through completion, Howard said.

Death penalty cases are rare in Canyon County, and the attorneys in the public
defender's office haven't had the opportunity to sit through a case to get the

"But as you've seen on the news, there are potential cases out there," Howard

Howard told the Canyon County Commissioners on Thursday that she would like
come up with an agreement with the Ada County Public Defender's Office, in the
event Canyon County has a death penalty case requiring a public defender, to
send an attorney over to defend the case, and give attorneys in the Canyon
County office experience to become certified.

Canyon County would pay the Ada County attorney for the service. Because the
discussion was so preliminary, exact costs were not discussed at the meeting.

There is 1 death penalty case in the county now. The Canyon County Prosecutor's
Office filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty in the case of
Phillip E. Cabrera, 38, who is accused of breaking into his estranged wife's
home and killing Andrew L. Shepard, 34, of Caldwell. Cabrera is represented by
a private attorney and not a public defender.

Howard met with the commissioners to discuss this option and get direction
Thursday. Commissioners Tom Dale and Pam White were present for the meeting,
and both indicated they would consider an agreement.

(source: Idaho Press-Tribune)


Nevada Is About to Learn that Fentanyl Is an Effective Way to Kill People

The death penalty has become a controversial topic in the United States. A
large number of U.S. and European companies do not want their products used in
lethal injections, which has sent state governments scrambling for
alternatives. Oklahoma has recently administered pentobarbital, a drug normally
used to euthanize animals, in its lethal cocktails.

An upcoming execution in the State of Nevada will pioneer yet another chemical:

Fentanyl is a synthetic drug that has played a substantial role in the surge of
opioid overdose deaths in the country. Just a few milligrams of the substance
can be lethal, an amount equivalent to several grains of salt. Given that the
drug has likely killed thousands of Americans already, its efficacy as a method
of execution isn't really in doubt.

Yet, people who are opposed to the death penalty are claiming just that. In an
article for Vice, the ACLU claimed, "Use of these drugs could result in a
botched execution, leading to torture or a lingering death."

That's nonsense. Opposition to the death penalty, a position the ACLU holds, is
perfectly respectable; distorting biomedical science to advance that political
goal, however, is not.

Fentanyl: Not a Bad Way to Die

What happens to somebody when he overdoses on opioids? A different article in
Vice explains. In a nutshell, opioids make a person euphoric and then sleepy.
Then, the drug causes breathing to slow and eventually stop, and the person can
go into cardiac arrest (i.e., his heart stops beating). The only truly
unpleasant side effects (other than death) are the possibilities of a seizure
or choking on one's own vomit, but by the time that happens, a person probably
is not terribly conscious.

LiveScience reported specifically on the effects of a fentanyl overdose. It
says that an overdose occurs incredibly rapidly, within seconds or minutes.

The most common characteristic, described in 20 percent of the cases, was that
the person's lips immediately turned blue, followed by gurgling sounds with
breathing (16 % of the cases), stiffening of the body or seizure-like activity
(13 %), foaming at the mouth (6 %) and confusion or strange behavior before the
person became unresponsive (6 %), according to the report.

Given the myriad ways in which we may possibly shuffle off this mortal coil --
from cancer and car crashes to Alzheimer's and strokes -- fentanyl overdose is
not a bad way to die.

Whether one supports or opposes the death penalty, the debate should be based
upon ethics and morality informed by evidence-based biomedical science, not
distortions and half-truths.

(source: American Council on Science and Health)


How justices' ruling shows death penalty law shouldn't be decided by initiative

The California Supreme Court's decision upholding a profoundly flawed 2016
initiative that promises to speed executions made clear how badly the death
penalty twists and perverts the criminal justice system.

The justices illustrated once more why complex legal questions should not be
decided by initiative. Hot button issue though it is, the death penalty, or at
least the law governing it, simply cannot be fully explained in brief campaign

There won't be an execution this year, and perhaps not next year. But the
ruling ensures that the death penalty will be an issue in the 2018 race to
replace Gov. Jerry Brown.

Unfortunately, voters last November narrowly approved Proposition 66, a measure
that supposedly will speed executions, and rejected Proposition 62, which would
have abolished capital punishment.

The Bee Editorial Board does not support the death penalty, though not out of
sympathy for killers. People who commit the most heinous crimes should die in

But capital punishment is unworkable and anachronistic. Executions may provide
some solace to the survivors of murder victims, though unnatural deaths of
loved ones leave holes that can never be filled. The death penalty is neither
an efficient punishment, nor is it the deterrent that some supporters claim it
to be. Directly and indirectly, much of that was reflected in the Supreme
Court's 5-2 ruling issued Thursday.

Writing for the majority, Justice Carol Corrigan upheld the measure in general
but struck down a core part of Proposition 66, the provision requiring that the
state Supreme Court decide capital cases within 5 years.

As it is, cases often are not decided for a decade or more, for good reasons.
The majority held that the initiative's 5-year standard was aspirational, not a
command. A hard deadline "would undermine the court's authority as a separate
branch of government."

In a concurring opinion joined by three justices, Justice Goodwin Liu
underscored the complexities of death cases: Appellate lawyers are hard to
find. Once they're retained, lawyers must meticulously pick through trial
records that run 5,000 pages or more, plus exhibits. Written briefs in capital
cases run 300 to 500 pages and commonly raise 30 or 40 claims. A single case
can dominate a lawyer's practice for more than a decade.

"Proposition 66 does not increase the availability of appellate and habeas
attorneys, beyond requiring this court to compel certain criminal appellate
attorneys to take death penalty appeals against their will," Liu wrote. "It is
unclear how effective this strategy will be in light of the shrinking and
graying pool of private appellate attorneys."

Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar dissented, writing that the Yes-on-66 claim
about the 5-year deadline was an inducement designed to win voter support. It
was, he wrote, "a sham." The way to "prevent similar swindles in the future"
would be for the court to clearly state why the 5-year rule was wrong and
declare the initiative to be unconstitutional.

Although it neutered the 5-year provision, the majority's decision could make
executions more likely, in time. About 17 of California's 747 condemned inmates
have exhausted all appeals. The decision probably will force the state to
streamline approval of drugs used to carry out executions, assuming the state
can find lethal drugs. California regulators had been slow-walking approval of
lethal drugs, part of the reason there hasn't been an execution in California
since 2006.

Even if drugs are found, there's no certainty that executions will ever become
routine in California. We hedge by using the words, "could" and "likely,"
because nothing is certain about capital punishment. No initiative can change
that, despite what campaign consultants tell voters.

Judges are extra careful with capital cases, knowing a mistake could result in
the execution of an innocent person. The California Supreme Court has upheld
271 death sentences. But federal courts also have a say, and nothing in the
initiative or in the Aug. 24 decision will have any impact on federal judges.

Governors have the power to order that executions proceed or to commute death
sentences to life in prison. No governor, not even the most law-and-order
politician, would relish presiding over multiple executions.

In his 1989 book, "Public Justice, Private Mercy," the late Gov. Pat Brown
described his anguish: "It was an awesome, ultimate power over the lives of
others that no person or government should have, or crave.

"And looking back over their names and files now, despite the horrible crimes
and the catalog of human weaknesses they comprise, I realize that each decision
took something out of me that nothing - not family or work or hope for the
future - has ever been able to replace."

There won't be an execution this year, and perhaps not next year. But the
ruling ensures that the death penalty will be an issue in the 2018 race to
replace Gov. Jerry Brown, a moral opponent of capital punishment. All 3 top
Democratic announced candidates for governor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los
Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Treasurer John Chiang, oppose capital

So does the most well-funded Republican candidate, John Cox. Cox opposes
capital punishment because of its cost, and because of his Catholic faith; he
also opposes abortion. However, his campaign strategist, Wayne Johnson, told an
editorial board member Cox would follow the law.

In November 2016, slightly more than 51 % of the electorate voted for
Proposition 66, 292,000 out of the almost 13 million votes cast. Based on that
result and, now, a 5-2 high court decision that stretched to uphold this
unfortunate, unworkable and unenforceable mandate, California's law will
include the death penalty, for now.

(source: Editorial Board, Fresno Bee)


Uncle arraigned in 7-year-old girl's death

Family members of a 7-year-old girl who died this week fought back tears as
they saw one of their own dressed in an orange jumpsuit, shackled, and sitting
behind a Plexiglas window in a courtroom.

They huddled closely together in silence inside Judge F. Clark Sueyres'
courtroom Thursday afternoon for the arraignment of Arthur Dean Combs, who made
his 1st appearance since being arrested on suspicion of torture and child abuse
resulting in the girl's death.

The San Joaquin County Coroner's Office identified the victim as Anysia Clark
of Stockton.

Combs, 24, was arrested Tuesday morning after officers responded to a medical
call involving a child about 4:15 a.m. in the 10500 block of Hidden Grove
Circle, Stockton police said. The girl had been taken to a local hospital,
where she died from her injuries.

The child suffered injuries that "were consistent of her being severely
abused," Stockton police spokesman Officer Joe Silva said. On Thursday, Silva
did not have additional information on case.

"This is still an active investigation," he said.

Combs was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on Tuesday on $200,000 bail
and Sueyres ordered Thursday that it be changed to no bail.

Public Defender Vickie Delph will represent Combs, who, if found guilty, could
face the death penalty or life in prison. As Sueyres said the maximum penalty
aloud, family members could be heard gasping from the gallery.

Outside the courtroom, family members declined to comment and asked for

Authorities said detectives are trying to determine the family dynamics at the
home and whether Child Protective Services had responded to any incidents
there. Investigators will be looking for evidence of any past injuries during
the autopsy.

Silva told The Record on Tuesday that detectives are also looking into whether
there were any other children living at the home who may have witnessed the
alleged abuse.

A GoFundMe page has been made in honor of Anysia and can be found by visiting

Combs' next court appearance is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11.

(source: recordnet.com)


A nurse reveals what it's like to care for prisoners on death row

A new Reddit thread has cast a rarely seen light on life as a nurse on death
row, a role that involves looking after the perpetrators of harrowing crimes
before they're condemned to their deaths.

The Reddit user, known as MorrieBear, works as a death row nurse in an unnamed
U.S. prison and answered a series of wide-ranging questions about the job
during their Ask Me Anything session.

The nurse revealed that they avoid looking up patients' charges in a bid to
prevent any potential emotional connection.

'No, I am not told what their charges are, but I could easily look them up on
public record if I wanted to, but I don't', the anonymous nurse wrote.

'I dont want any sort of emotional attachment to them or their crimes in case
it effects [sic] my profession.

'I don't get personal with the inmates so it hasn't gotten to the point where
they say anything about their crimes, but some of them have been on death row
for YEARS so I'm sure it's second nature to them now.'

And when another asked if the nurse was in favour of the death penalty, they
admitted to being on the fence.

'I'm not really sure how I feel about the death penalty', they wrote.

'And I try not to think of anyones past, because I could be a med surg nurse
and deal with people that have done worse, but haven't gotten caught, but I
still keep in mind that they are inmates.'

Despite working in an environment that is overshadowed by death, the nurse also
revealed that they had never been witness to an execution - and outlined their
standard daily routine.

'Since its an inmate hospital and not a prison, my day consists of typical
nursing duties but in a WAY different environment.

'We do pill call, treatments, assessments, make rounds with the doctor, and so
on! Its a lot different than I imagined! And I haven't witnessed any
executions!', the nurse wrote.

(source: Yahoo News)

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