The story of the week remains lethal injection. This week the Court granted a stay from a Florida case (Arthur Rutherford) and refused to lift a stay from Missouri (Michael Taylor). Lethal injection related issues may have temporarily (and I mean temporarily) created a seven state moratorium on executions (four states in the Eighth Circuit, three elsewhere holding up a total of at least five executions). Boalt Hall's capital litigation clinic has posted the stay litigation documents in the Missouri litigation which are available here. The second Florida stay litigation from Rutherford v. Crosby are also available from here. The Weekly's daily blog, the SCOTUSBlog, and the Sentencing Blog have all been doing complimentary coverage on the ongoing LI issue. Whether the LI related stays spread remains to be seen. February has six scheduled "serious dates." At the moment two scheduled executions -- at least -- appear headed for serious lethal injection litigation, Vernon Evans and Michael Morales. Evans was denied relief in the lower courts and, if executed, is a likely botch candidate due to collapsed veins from heroin addiction. Morales has purportedly been granted discovery on three post-mortem examinations done after past executions in California. The three remaining of the six cases are from Texas with no known lethal injection challenges at this time. In another matter touching on "late inning" proceedings, the Tenth Circuit's decision in Hain v. Mullin examines clemency proceedings and whether CJA panel attorney can submit a voucher to the federal courts for their work. En banc (8-3) the Hain Court holds that counsel "appointed under 848(q)(4)(B) to represent state death row inmates in 28 U.S.C. 2254 proceedings are authorized by the statute to represent these clients in state clemency proceedings and are entitled to compensation for clemency representation." Despite how commonsensical this approach seems in light of the language of the statute, "each attorney so appointed shall represent the defendant throughout every subsequent stage of available judicial proceedings, including . . . proceedings for executive or other clemency as may be available to the defendant." There now exists a Circuit split on the issue with the lower courts nearly evenly split on the issue. Switching gears, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association's Annual Life in the Balance Conference will be held in Philadelphia, PA, March 4-7, 2006. As always this conference will bring together mitigation specialists, defense investigators, and capital defense attorneys from around the nation, to improve their skills and techniques in all aspects of death penalty defense. Seminars are offered on the latest scientific, medical and psychiatric developments in capital cases; the most recent developments in the law; and a wide range of creative trial strategies and tactics. Three reports apparently timed to appear in time for a death penalty hearing in the Senate Judiciary Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights Subcommittee were had this week. On Monday the ABA released its report on the death penalty in Georgia concluding, in short, Georgia cannot ensure fairness, accuracy in death penalty cases. On Tuesday Amnesty International released a 189-page report entitled “USA: The execution of mentally ill offenders.” On Wednesday the morning the Constitution Project's new report, Mandatory Justice: The Death Penalty Revisited, was released by its bipartisan, blue-ribbon Death Penalty Initiative which updated set of guiding principles for reform of death penalty systems in the United States. There is some hope to get back to the normal release of the Weekly during the work-week rather than on the weekends in the coming week, however, it remains to be seen whether that goal can be met. As always, please forgive the typos, thanks for letting us know when something has been missed & for reading. - k Full edition here
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DISCLAIMER The site contains, chiefly, the thoughts and analysis of Karl Keys. It is designed to be a first draft of history & a first draft review of case law, not the last. The goal is to get timely, accurate and germane information to those involved or interested in capital litigation. In the balance between speed and accuracy, speed sometimes wins. The law may have changed, we may have misread and misunderstood something ten years ago and still be clinging to a misperception. It is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the law. This web site is only updated on a semi-regular (whenever there is nothing good on TV or pending court deadline). Any information or links contained on this website should not be viewed as the furnishing of legal advice or as to any claim of specialization rather is given for informational puproses only and does not constitute the formation of an attorney-client relationship.