The ruling by Judge Ellen Hobbs Lyle is a blow to 33 death row inmates who had challenged the state’s lethal injection protocol, saying it led to cruel and unusual punishment forbidden by the U.S. Constitution. Billy Ray Irick’s execution is scheduled Aug. 9.
Federal prosecutors charged with promoting “consistency and fairness” in death penalty cases has been making accusations against one another, from neglecting boxes of evidence to destroying interview notes. Defense attorneys want to know why this is the first they’re hearing about the alleged misconduct.
Convicted of the horrific murder of a Cincinnati man, Robert Van Hook died by lethal injection in Ohio’s first execution in more than 10 months. Van Hook, 58, served a violence-plagued 32 years in prison after a death-penalty conviction for what now could be considered a hate crime.
Before his execution Tuesday, convicted murderer Chris Young targeted Texas’ secretive clemency process. He had sued the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, charging that it rejected his clemency petition because he is black.
Where 20 years ago a paper submission and calls to the governor were the best options for reprieve, today prisoners can garner support through Change.org petitions, Facebook campaigns, emailed calls to action, and painstakingly produced footage.
A report six years in the making evaluates the pros and cons of the Pennsylvania death penalty law. Gov. Tom Wolf imposed a moratorium on executions in 2015. It wasn’t immediately clear how the new study might affect that.