Ronald Smith coughed and heaved for 13 minutes at the beginning of his execution last week. His lawyers say the movements show he “was not anesthetized at any point during the agonizingly long procedure.” Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn says the procedure was performed properly.
Ronald Bert Smith Jr. was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m. His attorneys asked the Supreme Court to hear the case because a judge had overridden the jury’s recommendation that Smith get a life prison term. Four justices voted to delay the execution, but five votes were needed to do so.
Prosecutors declined a plea bargain to give Roof a life term. No federal defendant has been executed since 2003. Twice as many federal juries since 1988 have have opted for life imprisonment rather than execution.
William Sallie was put to death for killing his father-in-law and committing other serious crimes against family members in 1990. Former state chief justice complained about Georgia’s failure to provide legal help to inmates like Sallie after their first round of appeals.
Lynneice Washington defeated an incumbent district attorney by 299 votes in a recount in Jefferson County. She opposes the death penalty in a county that has sentenced five people to death, all blacks, since 2010.
Florida high court ruling is a follow-up on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidated the state’s death penalty law because the judge, not the jury, made the decision on capital punishment. The Florida court ruled in the case of inmate Richard Franklin, convicted of murdering a prison guard.
State spent $860,000 for new place to perform executions, but it lacks the drugs to put inmates to death and the 81 death row inmates have pending appeals. Gov. Brian Sandoval favors capital punishment, but a key legislator wants a public vote on the issue.
Oral arguments are scheduled for Tuesday in the case of Bobby Moore. An appeals court ruled that the Texan is not sufficiently disabled to be exempt from the death penalty. His attorneys say Texas is using outdated standards. The ruling could affect inmates in other states.
Proposition 66 led 51 to 49 percent after two weeks of counting mailed and provisional ballots. A competing measure to abolish the death penalty failed on Nov. 8. The measure will hire lawyers for inmates to resolve long-standing appeals.