Friday, September 19, 2014

ACLU vs. PA over DP Drugs

ACLU sues Pennsylvania for information about lethal injection cocktail
SEPT. 11, 2014
The Pennsylvania chapter of the ACLU, The Guardian, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Philadelphia City Papers are asking state courts to unseal documents that would reveal how, and from whom, the state obtained the drugs it plans to use to execute Hubert Michael, Jr. on September 22.

Hubert L. Michael Jr. pled guilty in October 1994 to kidnapping and first-degree murder for the death of 16-year-old Trista Eng. On July 12, 1993, Eng was walking along Route 15 from her home to her summer job at a restaurant in Dillsburg, York County. Michael stopped and offered the girl a ride to work, which she accepted. Michael drove to state game lands in Warrington Township, York County, where he shot Eng three times with a handgun and then hid her body in the woods.

Michael's execution will not restore Eng's life. Neither is execution necessary to save society from the murderer. Life without parole would accomplish that. Therefore, Michael's execution could only be a revenge killing. If the capital punishment is carried out, then Michael may be subjected to a lengthy, torturous execution using mystery drugs like other condemned people were this year. A state's refusal to release information about execution drugs should necessitate an automatic moratorium.

The last execution in Pennsylvania occurred in July 1999, when Philadelphia torture killer Gary Heidnik was put to death after surrendering his appeals. More information about the history of Pennsylvania executions is available at

"Continue to fight this fight" ~Troy Anthony Davis
Anti-DP article by Mary Neal, director of
~Davis/MacPhail Truth Committee
~Dog Justice for Mentally Ill
~Human Rights for Prisoners March
~Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill ("AIMI")

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DP with Mystery Drugs Resumes

Dear Friends,

It happened again. Last night, the state of Missouri put to death Earl Ringo, Jr., despite concerns about the role that race played in determining his death sentence and despite an outpouring of pleas to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon from people of faith, civil rights leaders and activists to halt the execution. This execution, like so many others, took place under a cloud of secrecy with Department of Corrections officials dissembling about when and whether they were using or would use Midazolam, the drug that has been at the center of controversy in the recent spate of botched and horrific executions.

I learned for the first time last Wednesday that DOC officials in Missouri administer Midazolam to prisoners before the execution actually “begins.” They claim that this procedure is consistent with the practice of offering the condemned prisoner a sedative to calm nerves before the execution.

But lawyers for Earl Ringo point out that Midazolam is not the drug normally prescribed as a sedative for nerves and the amount administered prior to the start of an execution is far more than the dosage that would be consistent with a simple ‘calming effect.’

It’s sophistry at best and government at its worst.

We are disappointed that Governor Nixon did not take full responsibility for ensuring that the death penalty system in Missouri operates in a manner that is free of racial bias and discrimination, and that Earl Ringo’s death sentence in particular was not the product of racial bias.

But here is what we are proud of: We are proud of and grateful for the legal team that was courageous, resourceful and compassionate in their efforts to save Mr. Ringo’s life.

We are proud of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and our allies in the NAACP, ACLU of Missouri, the Catholic Conference and others, and hundreds of volunteers who wrote letters, called, worked and prayed, and organized vigils to make their concerns known to Governor Nixon.

We are proud of the national coalition of organizations and leaders that came together to send a joint statement to Governor Nixon urging him to be reasonable and not go forward with this execution, given so many unanswered questions concerning the racial bias in his case.

We joined with the NAACP, the National Action Network, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Racial Justice, Hip Hop Caucus, Dr. Virgil Wood, and Reverend McBride, Director of Urban Strategies, Live Free Campaign, PICO National Network.

Unfortunately, Governor Nixon did not heed our request. We do believe in accountability.

Please contact Governor Nixon to express your deep disappointment with his failure to stop Earl Ringo’s execution. Ask him to halt all executions from now on.

Act with us. We are 90 Million Strong!

Diann Rust-Tierney
Executive Director

p.s. Texas is set to execute Willie Trottie later today. Please contact your friends and families in Texas and urge them to make their voices hear