The usual midweek roundup including a DNA exonerations and a new lethal injection challenge:
- Jack Balkin debunks the claims by Attorney General Gonzales that there is no constitutional right to habeas. The law profs over at the Volokh Conspiracy also jump in to the fray.
- “Three Kentucky Death Row inmates claim in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that lethal injection violates federal laws because a doctor doesnt obtain or administer the drugs. The inmates claim the federal Controlled Substances Act and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act require a doctor to buy and prescribe sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs used in an execution.” [more here]
- DNA frees another man, this time New York. “Fifteen years to the day after he was convicted of murder, a 46-year-old man was ordered released from state prison on Tuesday because DNA tests proved he did not commit the crime. Cayuga County Court Judge Mark H. Fandrich vacated the murder conviction and ordered Roy Brown released on his own recognizance.” [more here]
- The CrimProf blog notes that Vermont is looking at broadening access to postconviction DNA testing.
- The hunger strike on death row in Texas has resumed. Unconfirmed private reports also note suggest that a hunger strike may have also started to Pennsylvania’s death row as well.
- “Dahlia Lithwick wonders at Slate whether the Supreme Court’s “opinions have become suggestions in Texas.” From her description of the oral arguments, it sounds like the 7-2 supermajority that’s been signing off on most bench-slapping of Texas death penalty cases may have been watered down substantially by the addition of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.” [h/t Grits for Breakfast]