[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----KY., VA., N.J.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Feb 14 16:42:53 CST 2005
Judge says state can keep execution protocol secret
A judge has refused to order the state to release its step-by-step written
guide for carrying out executions in Kentucky.
Franklin Circuit Judge Roger Crittenden said releasing the information
could threaten the safety of inmates, correctional staff or others as the
corrections department argued. The judge cited, for instance, that the
protocols include detailed information about the location of drugs, the
titles of persons having access to the drugs, the location of the Death
Row inmate before the execution and the job titles of those who complete
the execution process.
The Herald-Leader had asked the court to order the release of the some of
The records are at issue in the case of Thomas Clyde Bowling, who was
convicted of killing a Lexington couple in 1991. Bowling and Death Row
inmate Ralph Baze sued the state in August, saying Kentucky's method of
execution by lethal injection violates a prisoners Eighth Amendment right
not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
Bowling was scheduled to be executed Nov. 30, but the execution was
delayed in part because Crittenden issued a stay, saying more evidence
needed to be gathered before he could rule on the claim. The state Supreme
Court also issued a stay, giving it more time to decide whether Bowling
might be mentally retarded and therefore exempt from being executed.
The state has executed only 1 person, Eddie Lee Harper, by lethal
injection, in 1999. In court papers, Baze and Bowlings lawyers have argued
that there is more than a 50 % chance that Harper was awake when the 3rd,
and final, drug was administered, meaning he could have felt pain. But
because the state uses a drug called Pavulon, which paralyzes the muscles,
Harper could not have communicated that he was in pain.
Death penalty for gang shootings bill likely dormant for year
Action will likely have to wait till next year on legislation that calls
for the death penalty for gang-ordered killings.
The Senate Courts of Justice Committee referred the bill to the state
Crime Commission for study and it likely won't get back in time for a vote
Delegate David Albo, the bill's sponsor, says the measure would
essentially treat a gang-ordered killing as murder-for-hire, making the
killer and the person who ordered it eligible for execution. There is a
growing problem with savage attacks by gangs in northern Virginia.
The Senate committee chairman, Kenneth Stolle, questioned whether the bill
might render the state's death penalty law unconstitutional by expanding
it beyond a limited and specific set of offenses.
(source: Associated Press)
Grand jury clears way for death penalty in Miraglia murder case
A grand jury has found the presence of factors that would warrant
prosecutors' consideration of the death penalty against a 32-year-old man
charged in the gruesome murders of his girlfriend and grandmother in June.
The Monmouth County grand jury found that the murders of 88-year-old Julia
Miraglia and 31-year-old Leigh Martinez were "outrageously or wantonly
vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind
or an aggravated assault to the victim,'' -- a factor required by state
law to warrant execution.
The grand jury also found the presence of two other factors -- that Julia
Miraglia's murder was committed to escape detection of Martinez's murder
and occurred while Rosario "Russell" Miraglia murdered Martinez on June 8
in Ocean Township.
A grand jury had to find the existence of the factors before prosecutors
could proceed with seeking the death penalty against Miraglia.
The indictment charges Miraglia with the 2 counts of murder, weapons
charges and attempting to commit aggravated arson.
(source: Asbury Park Press)
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