Page 5 of 7 FirstFirst ... 34567 LastLast
Results 41 to 50 of 62
  1. #41
    Administrator
    Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,138
    Lawmaker pulls death-penalty bill

    A Nebraska lawmaker on Friday requested that debate on her bill to abolish the death penalty be stopped.

    Omaha Sen. Brenda Council, whose bill (LB276) would replace the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison, asked for debate to stop so she can try to get answers about how the state purchased a lethal-injection drug.

    The lawyer for death-row inmates Michael Ryan and Carey Dean Moore has questioned the legality of the state's purchase of sodium thiopental made by an overseas company.

    Read more: http://journalstar.com/news/unicamer...#ixzz1kgaXR3Lb

  2. #42
    Administrator
    Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,138
    Nebraska refuses FDA order to surrender its stores of controversial execution drug

    Nebraska will not surrender its supply of a controversial execution drug to the Food and Drug Administration because it believes the court order requiring it to do so is flawed, the state Attorney General’s office indicated in a letter to the federal agency Friday.

    James Smith, an assistant attorney general, suggested in the letter to the FDA that the agency should appeal U.S. District Judge Richard Leon’s ruling on the drug, sodium thiopental. Leon ruled last month that the FDA was wrong to allow the drug into the country and he ordered the agency to immediately notify state correctional departments with foreign-manufactured stores of the drug, including Nebraska’s, that its use is prohibited by law and that it must be surrendered.


    “Other than the court’s erroneous order, we are unaware of any evidence or reasons why the Department of Correctional Services should be required to return any thiopental in its possession,” wrote Smith wrote, who also asked for contact information for the FDA’s attorney and Justice Department officials who might be involved in deciding whether to appeal the ruling.

    Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning issued a statement Friday saying that Nebraska’s supply of sodium thiopental was purchased from a different supplier than the one cited in the case over which Leon presided, and that Nebraska’s drug “was approved for importation by the U.S. DEA, FDA and Customs.”

    Sodium thiopental is an anesthetic used to put inmates to sleep before other lethal drugs are administered during an execution. Nebraska obtained a stock of the drug from a foreign supplier after the drug’s U.S. manufacturer announced last year it would no longer produce it.

    Nebraska’s supply of sodium thiopental has been under fire for more than a year, when the drug was first obtained from an India-based drug company. That batch was ruled to have been illegally imported. The state then obtained a new batch from another Indian source last year, but the Swiss manufacturer of the drug, Naari AG, said that the sodium thiopental that Nebraska bought was a sample intended only to be used for evaluation purposes as an anesthetic in Zambia.

    Bruning has defended the state’s purchase of the lethal injection drug as legal.

    In his ruling, Leon sided with lawyers for death row inmates in Tennessee, Arizona and California who want to keep out sodium thiopental, because it is an unapproved drug manufactured overseas. The Obama administration argued it had discretion to allow unapproved drugs into the U.S.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...2VT_story.html
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  3. #43
    Administrator
    Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,138
    Company recalls Nebraska's lethal injection drug

    A Swiss pharmaceutical company has notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it is recalling a supply of a lethal injection drug held by Nebraska, which could leave the state without a way to carry out executions for the foreseeable future.

    The Lincoln Journal Star reports (http://bit.ly/JvnCTh ) that Naari AG has asked Nebraska officials to quarantine its supply of sodium thiopental and return it to the company or the FDA.

    Sodium thiopental has been in short supply since 2010, when the only U.S. manufacturer, Hospira Inc., ended production because of death-penalty opposition from overseas customers. After that, the European Union banned the export of some chemicals, including sodium thiopental, which further diminishing the drug's availability as a lethal injection drug.

    http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/usa...xt|FRONTPAGE|s
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  4. #44
    Administrator
    Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,138
    FDA appeals lethal-injection drug ruling



    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says a federal judge overstepped his bounds in a ruling that could force Nebraska to surrender one of its lethal-injection drugs.

    In a brief filed this week with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C., Circuit, the FDA appeals a March ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, who said the agency must immediately notify state correctional departments in possession of any foreign-manufactured sodium thiopental "that the use of such drug is prohibited by law and ... that thiopental must be returned immediately to the FDA.”

    Nebraska and several other states in which sodium thoipental is part of the execution protocol were forced to buy it overseas when the last U.S. manufacturer quit making it in 2010 because of death-penalty opposition from overseas customers.

    Leon sided with lawyers for death row inmates in Tennessee, Arizona and California who say the foreign-made sodium thiopental is an unapproved drug.

    FDA lawyers point to a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Heckler v. Chaney that said the FDA's decision to not take enforcement action in a lethal-injection drug case was not subject to judicial review. That case involved a challenge by death-row inmates in Texas and Oklahoma who argued that U.S.-manufactured lethal injection drugs in the possession of prison officials had not been certified by the FDA as "safe and effective" for human executions, and thus should be barred from being distributed via interstate commerce.

    The FDA argues that Leon "expressly rejected FDA’s explanations that it does not want to expend resources on an area it considers distant from its public health mission, and that it has historically deferred to law enforcement."

    "As the Supreme Court recognized in Heckler, overriding an agency’s discretion to decide whether to engage in enforcement proceedings interferes with the agency’s determinations about whether particular enforcement actions are counterproductive or unduly tax agency resources in relation to other responsibilities that the agency may regard as more pressing," the brief says.

    "As in the domestic context, FDA employs a risk-based approach at the border, at times involving the exercise of enforcement discretion ... to preserve its limited resources for violations that pose the most serious threats to public health," the FDA said. "FDA may take action if drugs offered for import do not conform with various requirements, such as by being misbranded or adulterated, or by lacking required approval."

    Leon's ruling also said the FDA is prohibited from allowing foreign-made sodium thiopental into the United States.

    Lawyers for the inmates have until Jan. 11 to reply with their brief.

    Nebraska's three-drug protocol was set by the state Department of Correctional Services after lawmakers switched to lethal injection from the electric chair in 2009. It calls for a dose of sodium thiopental to render the inmate unconscious, followed by pancuronium bromide to paralyze and potassium chloride to stop the heart.

    Sodium thiopental has become increasingly difficult to obtain. The European Union recently banned the export of some barbituric acids, including sodium thiopental, further diminishing the drug's availability for use in lethal injections.

    The Swiss firm Naari AG, which made the batches of sodium thiopental held by Nebraska, has said it no longer will ship the drug if it is to be used in executions. Most of the remaining manufacturers of sodium thiopental are in India and China -- and American defense lawyers have questioned the quality of the drugs they make.

    The problems with obtaining sodium thiopental have prompted several states to switch to one drug -- the barbiturate pentobarbital -- for their executions.

    Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, a member of the Legislature's Judiciary Committee, has said he thinks lawmakers need to step in and possibly change Nebraska's protocol.

    http://journalstar.com/news/local/cr...2a7acb225.html
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  5. #45
    Administrator
    Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,138
    Neb. Sen. Chambers pushes for death penalty repeal

    A state lawmaker who fought for years to abolish the death penalty in Nebraska is trying again.

    Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha introduced a repeal measure on Wednesday, the final day for lawmakers to submit bills.

    Chambers is an outspoken death-penalty opponent who has repeatedly tried to repeal the practice. He returned to the Legislature after a four-year hiatus imposed by term limits.

    His measure would replace the death penalty with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. In the bill, Chambers rails against the death penalty as a failure that has harmed the state’s reputation for fairness, decency and the dignity of human life.

    The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Colby Coash, of Lincoln.

    http://www.starherald.com/news/regio...a4bcf887a.html
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  6. #46
    Moderator
    Jan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,045
    Chambers wants to change Nebraska's death penalty law

    Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha -- arguably the Legislature's most ardent death-penalty opponent -- wants to change the way Nebraska decides whether to execute someone.

    Under state law, someone convicted of murder faces what amounts to a second trial, where jurors decide whether the aggravating factors surrounding the crime outweigh any mitigating factors. If they do, a three-judge panel then decides whether the death penalty is warranted.

    The law lists nine aggravating circumstances, such as whether the murder was done for hire or to cover up evidence of another crime.

    But Chambers has introduced a bill (LB542) to eliminate one: "The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or manifested exceptional depravity by ordinary standards of morality and intelligence."

    In explaining his reasons for bringing the bill at a Friday Judiciary Committee hearing, Chambers said the aggravator "is the most litigated, judicially 'interpreted, tweaked and defined', confusing, unworkable, disagreed upon aggravator in the litter."

    "No one knows precisely what it means; no one can say precisely what it means -- because it is not susceptible of precise meaning," he said.

    In 1972, in a case called Furman v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there must be a degree of consistency in the application of the death penalty. That led to a de-facto moratorium on it until the court's 1976 ruling in Gregg v. Georgia. In that case, the court reaffirmed its acceptance of the use of the death penalty as long as the sentencing scheme incorporated two main features to comport with the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

    * The scheme must provide objective criteria to direct and limit discretion in death sentencing.

    * The scheme must allow the judge or jury to take into account the character and record of the defendant.

    Nebraska has been using its present system of sentencing people to death since 2002, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in an Arizona case that prompted then-Gov. Mike Johanns to call lawmakers into a special session to change how the state sentences people in capital cases.

    The ruling in Ring v. Arizona said juries, not judges, must have a say in who gets the death penalty. In Nebraska, only judges had handed down death sentences since state lawmakers decided in the 1970s there was the potential of bias by juries.

    Chambers said the "heinous" aggravator has made sentencing in capital cases legally murky.

    "The best efforts of bench and bar to bring order out of the statutory chaos have proved to be futile. Almost every attempt by the courts has only further muddied the legal waters.

    "In criminal law, especially where a life literally hangs in the balance, vagueness, indefiniteness, uncertainty are unacceptable and offend against both the U.S. and the Nebraska constitutions," Chambers said.

    Lincoln attorney Alan Peterson, a long-time opponent of the death penalty, testified in support of the measure on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union.

    "The problem of arbitrary death sentencing survives because of this loosey-goosey aggravating factor," Peterson said. "And the problem of arbitrary or vague definitions is that it leaves room at the charging level, the sentencing phase and at the appellate level for one form or another of discrimination to exist and prevail."

    Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly spoke against the bill on behalf of the Nebraska County Attorneys Association, saying Nebraska has developed instructions that are given to jurors about how to weigh the "heinous" aggravator.

    "Over the years, the federal and the state courts have permitted state courts and judges to insert more particular jury instructions, like we have in Nebraska, that put more definition into those terms and allow them to be … used," he said.

    http://journalstar.com/legislature/c...ment_form=true

  7. #47
    Administrator
    Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,138
    Neb. committee advances death-penalty repeal bill

    Nebraska lawmakers will get a chance this year to debate a death-penalty repeal measure.

    The Legislature's Judiciary Committee voted 7-0 on Tuesday to advance the bill for full debate. The bill was introduced by Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, an outspoken opponent of capital punishment.

    Nebraska has 11 inmates on death row, but the punishment has faced numerous legal challenges in recent years.

    The last prisoner executed in Nebraska was Robert E. Williams, who died in the electric chair in 1997 after confessing to three murders. Nebraska has executed three inmates out of 1,600 homicide cases in the last four decades.

    Chambers has chosen the measure as his priority bill, which increases the odds that will get debated.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/N...#ixzz2O1jmArCL
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  8. #48
    Administrator
    Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    5,645
    Portion of Nebraska's supply of lethal injection drug set to expire

    By KEVIN O'HANLON / Lincoln Journal Star

    As a federal appeals court considers whether Nebraska and other states must surrender their foreign-made supplies of a lethal injection drug that is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, part of Nebraska's supply is set to expire.

    Nebraska has two batches of sodium thiopental, one of which expires in May and the other in December. It's highly unlikely the state will be able to replace the drug if the appeals court orders its surrender.

    "No state has used sodium thiopental for two years," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. "Because of a stoppage by the manufacturer, the U.S. supply has reportedly dried up, and existing supplies are almost all expired. A federal court has banned its importation from overseas without FDA approval, and that is not happening."

    A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit recently heard arguments in a case stemming from a ruling last year by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, who said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration must notify immediately state prison officials in possession of any foreign-manufactured sodium thiopental that using such drugs is against the law and the drugs must be returned to the FDA.

    Nebraska and several other states in which the drug is part of the execution protocol were forced to buy it overseas when the last U.S. manufacturer quit making it in 2010 because of death penalty opposition from overseas customers. Nebraska's sodium thiopental was made by a Swiss company and came in two batches.

    Leon sided with lawyers for death row inmates in Tennessee, Arizona and California who say the foreign-made sodium thiopental is an unapproved drug. But FDA lawyers point to a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case Heckler v. Chaney that said the FDA's decision to not take enforcement action in a lethal injection drug case was not subject to judicial review.

    That case involved a challenge by death row inmates in Texas and Oklahoma who argued that U.S.-manufactured lethal injection drugs in the possession of prison officials had not been certified by the FDA as "safe and effective" for human executions and thus should be barred from being distributed via interstate commerce.

    "(Leon) expressly rejected FDA's explanations that it does not want to expend resources on an area it considers distant from its public health mission and that it has historically deferred to law enforcement," the FDA argues.

    Leon's ruling also said the FDA is prohibited from allowing foreign-made sodium thiopental into the United States.

    Lawyers for the inmates argue that the FDA's actions were arbitrary and capricious. They say the FDA issued a directive in January 2011 that set a general policy of automatically allowing all foreign thiopental shipments destined for prisons.

    Nebraska's three-drug protocol was set by the state Department of Correctional Services after lawmakers switched to lethal injection from the electric chair in 2009. It calls for a dose of sodium thiopental to render the inmate unconscious, followed by pancuronium bromide to paralyze and then potassium chloride to stop the heart.

    Last year, the European Union banned the export of some barbituric acids, including sodium thiopental, further diminishing its availability for use in lethal injections.

    The Swiss firm Naari AG, which made the batches of sodium thiopental held by Nebraska, has said it no longer will ship the drug if it is to be used in executions. Most of the remaining manufacturers of sodium thiopental are in India and China -- and U.S. defense lawyers have questioned the quality of the drugs they make.

    The problems have prompted several states to switch to one drug -- the barbiturate pentobarbital -- for their executions.

    "All of the lethal injection executions since March 2011 have used pentobarbital, though that is also increasingly difficult to find," Dieter said.

    Arkansas is considering using yet another drug, phenobarbital and Missouri is considering propofol.

    "States might turn to compounding pharmacies (to make sodium thiopental), though they are under tighter scrutiny because of unsafe practices and may require a doctor's prescription," Dieter said. "Since sodium thiopental is rarely if ever used in the U.S. any more for any purpose, I'm skeptical that even a compounding pharmacy would be prepared to make it."

    Nebraska's execution protocol could be changed, but not without considerable effort. It was formulated by prison officials and vetted through a series of public hearings. The final rules were reviewed by the attorney general and approved by the governor.

    http://journalstar.com/news/local/cr...7bd5cde97.html

  9. #49
    Administrator
    Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,138
    Neb. death-penalty repeal stuck in filibuster

    A proposal to abolish the death penalty in Nebraska appeared to be in jeopardy on Monday, despite a majority of lawmakers who signaled a willingness to end capital punishment in the state.

    Supporters of the repeal initiated a "test vote" on a procedural motion to kill the legislation, to publicly gauge their support in the 49-member Legislature. The vote showed that 26 senators supported repealing the death penalty, but lawmakers would need at least 30 votes to override the veto of Republican Gov. Dave Heineman, who supports the death penalty, and 33 votes to force an end to debate.

    Lawmakers adjourned Monday evening without reaching a vote.

    The repeal measure was introduced by longtime Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, who has fought for nearly four decades to end capital punishment.

    "People who support the death penalty from a distance don't know what a grotesque ceremony it is," Chambers said.

    Chambers has proposed repealing the death-penalty each year between 1973 and 2008, when he was forced to sit out for four years because of new term limits. He was re-elected in 2012. His death penalty bill passed out of the Legislature once, in 1979, but was vetoed by then-Gov. Charles Thone.

    The debate didn't fall neatly on party lines in the officially nonpartisan Legislature, which is dominated by Republicans.

    Many Republicans who previously opposed the death penalty argued that efforts to carry out an execution have only led to expensive legal appeals. Some argued that even with the death penalty, Nebraska would never again follow through with an execution because of legal problems with sodium thiopental, a lethal-injection drug.

    "I've been very pro-death penalty for most of my life, but I've come to the conclusion that it does not work," said Sen. Galen Hadley, of Kearney.

    Another Republican, Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln, said the death penalty has kept constant news attention on the killers and served as a constant, painful reminder for their victims' families.

    "My feeling is, we just need to put this bed," Coash said. "We should never talk about these people again. Let them wear a hole in a 10-by-12 cell until they die."

    Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, a death penalty supporter, said he believed the punishment was appropriate for what he described as "the most heinous crimes you can imagine." Sen. Russ Karpisek, a Democrat from Wilber, added that the issue "shook me to my core" but that he ultimately remained in favor of the death penalty.

    Nebraska has 11 men on death row. The last inmate executed in Nebraska was Robert E. Williams, who was electrocuted in 1997. Williams confessed to killing three women and trying to kill a fourth during a three-day rampage in 1977 that crossed into three states.

    Maryland became the sixth state in as many years to repeal the death penalty earlier this month, when Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley signed it into law. The other states — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and New Mexico — tend to be less conservative than Nebraska. Nebraska is one of 32 states that have capital punishment.

    Miriam Thimm Kelle, whose brother James Thimm was murdered by Michael Ryan in 1985, said the death penalty has only prolonged her suffering and overshadowed better memories of her brother.

    "I've had to relive it again and again, in an intense way," said Thimm Kelle, who still lives in Beatrice, Neb. "I had to read about the torture. I've had to reprogram my mind to remember that James is dead. He's not suffering now. The real goal should be to make sure that families don't relive it every year."

    Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said studies have shown that the average death penalty cases costs $3 million to prosecute, compared to $1.1 million for cases of life without parole. Dieter said some conservatives who previously supported capital punishment now believe that it will never get carried out.

    "You have some people say, from a pragmatic perspective, 'I'm for the law but it's not being used,'" Dieter said. "The families wait and wait, and then nothing happens."

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/N...#ixzz2TE4fEJzX
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  10. #50
    Administrator
    Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,138
    Death penalty bill dead for the year



    A bill to abolish Nebraska's death penalty perished for the year Tuesday when supporters were unable to muster enough votes to end a filibuster against it.

    After eight hours of first-round debate over two days, supporters of the bill (LB543) needed 33 votes to end the filibuster. The vote was 28 to 21.

    But it was the first time since 1979 that a majority of the 49 lawmakers were willing to vote for abolishing the death penalty.

    The bill, by Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, would have changed the death penalty to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It was his 37th attempt to do so.

    The most ardent death penalty opponent in the Legislature, Chambers was re-elected to his North Omaha seat in November after sitting out four years because of term limits. Each year from 1973 to 2008, he introduced a bill to abolish the death penalty. In 1979, his bill passed but was vetoed by then-Gov. Charles Thone.

    LB543 will carry over to next year's session, but likely will not be brought back to the floor unless supporters can prove they have 33 votes.

    Omaha Sen. Beau McCoy, a staunch ally of Republican Gov. Dave Heineman, and Sens. Mark Christensen of Imperial, John Nelson of Omaha and Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha were among those leading the filibuster .

    "Some people have earned the ultimate penalty that the state can mete out," Lautenbaugh said. "There is a point at which we all have an obligation to stand our ground."

    Lautenbaugh said he has never regretted when an execution is carried out.

    "I won't shed a tear and I won't mourn, except for the passage of time," Lautenbaugh said. "I cannot have sympathy for these men on death row. They have forfeited their right to be part of the human race."

    Earlier, Chambers said: "There is randomness, arbitrariness and no standard for applying (the death penalty)."

    Noting that supporters say capital punishment is justified for the most heinous murders, Chambers offered details of several cases in which killers did not get the death penalty, including one where a man drove a car through a bedroom wall and shot his wife six times in front of their children.

    He said Nebraska's 93 county prosecutors decide whether to seek the death penalty.

    Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha, vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee, lamented what he called the arbitrary and capricious nature in which the death penalty is applied. Of the 260 first-degree murder convictions in Nebraska since 1973, 33 were sentenced to death and three have been executed.

    "The standard of decency in this country will ultimately result ... in the (U.S.) Supreme Court concluding that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment," he said.

    Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, told the Legislature's Judiciary Committee earlier this year that studies have shown the average death penalty case costs $3 million to prosecute, compared to $1.1 million for cases of life without parole.

    Since 1976, when the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of capital punishment, Nebraska has spent an estimated $100 million on death penalty cases and executed three people.

    The last was in 1997, when Robert E. Williams was electrocuted. He confessed to killing three women and trying to kill a fourth during a three-day rampage in 1977 that crossed into three states.

    Eleven men are on Nebraska's death row now.

    Maryland recently became the sixth state in as many years to abolish the death penalty and the 18th overall to abandon capital punishment.

    For his part, Chambers said he will keep fighting.

    "I will not give up," he said.

    http://journalstar.com/legislature/d...7fb8ef303.html
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

Page 5 of 7 FirstFirst ... 34567 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •