Monday, February 24, 2014

The last breaths of America's machinery of death | Rupert Cornwell | Sunday 23 February 2014

Few states still have capital punishment, and even those that do are finding it difficult to find the drugs needed for lethal injections


When the history of the long, slow decline of capital punishment in America is written, a footnote must be reserved for the Apothecary Shoppe of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Do not be deceived by the name. Quaint and cosy it may sound, but until this month the company was the unofficial supplier of the drug used in executions by neighbouring Missouri.

The arrangement resembled something out of The French Connection rather than preparation for the ultimate punishment that the state can mete out to one of its citizens. An official from Missouri's Department of Corrections (by such euphemisms are prison services known in the US) would secretly travel to Tulsa. There he would pay $11,000 in cash for a specially commissioned version of pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate. The official would then carry the stuff by hand back across the state line to Missouri, to be injected into the condemned man.

Three times this happened last year – and the same thing was to have happened for this Wednesday's scheduled execution of Michael Taylor, convicted of raping and murdering a schoolgirl in 1989 while under the influence of crack cocaine. But on 10 February, the Missouri legislature held a hearing on the state's execution protocol, and the department's shifty little drug-running operation with Tulsa became public.

Taylor's lawyers, who since 2006 has been fighting the death sentence on the grounds that lethal injection violated the US constitution's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment", brought a new action against the Apothecary Shoppe, claiming it was not certified to do business in Missouri. The company thereupon announced it would not supply the drug for the execution after all. What happens next is unclear. The lawyers are lodging further appeals, but on Friday the Missouri authorities indicated they had found a replacement supplier of pentobarbital, and insisted there was no reason the execution should not go ahead.

Sleazy, even ghoulish, the episode may be. It is, however, another reason to believe that, slowly but inevitably, the death penalty in America is on the way out. Since executions reached a peak in the late 1990s, one objection or obstacle after another has surfaced.

DNA testing proved that dozens of innocent men had been sent to death row, making it more than likely that an innocent man had been put to death. The sheer cost of the exercise became increasingly hard to justify. California, for instance, is reckoned to have spent $4bn on capital cases over the past 35 years – all for just 13 executions, the last of them carried out in 2006. And now the states that still do kill people are struggling even to lay their hands on the basic tools for the job.

Since the US Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, lethal injection has become the overwhelmingly preferred means of execution. Of the 32 states that have the death penalty on the books, all employ injection as the primary method, with the gas chamber and electric chair an option for inmates in only a dozen of them. And for a while the system ran smoothly, with most states employing a three-drug cocktail: first sodium thiopental to anaesthetise the prisoner, then pancuronium bromide to paralyse him, and finally potassium chloride to stop the heart.

There was, however, just one catch. Given the reluctance of domestic manufacturers to be drawn into lawsuits, the drugs were mostly imported, and mainly from Europe. But as part of its campaign against the death penalty worldwide, the EU in 2011 banned the export of eight drugs that could be used in executions. For America's death chambers, the supply of sodium thiopental in particular virtually dried up. A replacement for the three-drug formula had to be found.

Texas, which alone has performed 510 of the 1,367 executions carried out in the US since 1976, switched two years ago to pentobarbital. Missouri initially decided to go with propofol, the anaesthetising drug on which Michael Jackson overdosed. That too, however, came from Europe, which threatened to ban export of a product used in almost every hospital in the US. Eventually Missouri too settled on pentobarbital and, as noted above, appears to have found a secret supplier to replace the Apothecary Shoppe.

Other death penalty states have had even more trouble. On 9 January, Oklahoma put Michael Lee Wilson to death with a three-drug mixture, starting with pentobarbital. "I feel my whole body burning," were his last words. A week later in Ohio, Dennis McGuire, who had killed a pregnant woman in 1989, took 26 minutes to die, shuddering and gasping, after being injected with a previously untested mixture of two drugs, the sedative midazolam and hydromorphone, supposedly a painkiller.

As a result, Louisiana, which was to have used the same cocktail on one of its own prisoners this month, postponed that execution until May to allow a new medical assessment. In Virginia, meanwhile, once outdone only by Texas in its use of capital punishment, only two executions have been carried out in the past three years (and one of those by electric chair, at the choice of the inmate). One reason for the slowdown has been problems in procuring drugs – and further controversy seems certain now that the state had just approved midazolam as a replacement for sodium thiopental in its execution arsenal.

And all the while, national enthusiasm for the death penalty continues to wane. Not only were there just 39 executions in the US last year compared with 98 in 1999, but death sentences and death row populations are also sharply down. Public support is at its lowest ebb in four decades – only 55 per cent according to a 2013 Pew study. Of the 32 states that have the death penalty, three have suspended the practice, temporarily at least.

"I shall no longer tinker with the machinery of death," the late Supreme Court justice Harry Blackmun famously declared in 1994, having concluded the system was unworkable. The machinery grinds on, ever more clogged. For how much longer?

[sidebar:  In the State of Oregon there is a man on DEATH ROW.  Mike has been there for thirty (30) years, or thereabouts.  His sentence was not about RULE OF LAW.  No, not by the stretch of the worst imagination in the dark ages.

Mike was born and raised, and troubled seriously, from a family of POOR ALCOHOLIC DRUG ADDICTS.  And, therefore, he was a product of our SOCIETY.  He killed a 'girl' and didn't have a clue that 'you mean that girl died"!?  So brain dead from drugs and other poisons for most his life.

Let us discuss SOCIETY.  In Oregon State the Chief of the Supreme Court Justice did his best to make Mike get the DEATH PENALTY.

Mike who isn't nearly as guilty as ALL U.S. PRESIDENTS for mass murder global inc.

GEORGE W. BUSH, GHWB, ET AL.  These two and ALL POTUSES, have destroyed the United States of America as the worst of our species!  Where are the Bushes?  Well a GIGANTIC LIBRARY was just christened and therefore, the two war criminals aren't in jail, yet.

But, the AMERICAN SOCIETY isn't about the PREAMBLE.  No the criminally insane have convinced the population we are not other than the VASSAL STATE of ISRAEL.

Via the brainwashing, DRUGS (of course this includes ALL the so called P HARM Aceuticals, that are prescribed in places like GEORGETOWN U. to enhance the students productivity and naturally the 'thinking stuff') and other poisons galore in the food-water-air-Et-Cetera!  We're not fit for higher intelligent choosing a 'just' society.

FEDERAL SPENDING CLAUSE:  This has made far too many of the robbed gavel tyrants into exactly was meant to be -- degenerates that sell their souls for corruption, contamination and whatever can be gotten in the most ill GHETTO HELL that has ever been >> U$A BIGOVGLOBAL.

PROUD TO BE JURISPRUDENCE!  Making so many laws that line the retirements for them, those that aren't really smart or they would have checked and found, (ah hem, IE EG, T.A. BALMER, ET AL:  VIRTUAL DEBT IS FRAUD, too.  Just as all the DEATH psycho want to kill agendas.

Hon Thomas A Balmer
Bar Number  821855
Status  Active Member
Admit Date  9/24/1982
Mailing Address  Hon Thomas A Balmer
Oregon Supreme Court
Supreme Court Bldg
1163 State St
Salem OR  97301
County  Marion
Phone  503 986-5717
Fax  503 986-5730   

I must say, where does the HONORABLE title get to be shoved once the FEDERAL SPENDING CLAUSE doesn't work anymore?

Make our SOCIETY GHETTO HELL and then make laws to arrest the poor and innocent of manufacturing the opposite of what AMERICA was meant to be.

The common billions of people, earthlings sharing the world, aren't going to stay in the comatose state.  When the awakening actually happens in REAL VIBRATIONS, then the T.A. Balmer's Et Al, that want to kill --- and, break the law to get the DEATH PENALTY --- to get the FEDERAL FUNDING <!!> aren't going to be other than fully exposed.  Never to cover-up heinousness again.

How much (who benefits / 'cui bono') HIS 'Honorable'  ?? How much do the JD's get paid via BANK OF AMERICA'S VATICAN *IE MERRILL LYNCH*, to do what gets done in the name of NO RESPECT FOR THE DUE PROCESS RULE OF LAW!  ?????

DIVEST ALL PORTFOLIOS OF RETIREMENTS 'JURISPRUDENCE' ET AL:  Wall Street's Ghetto Hell has failed and that's all there is to heal and no retirement other than to accept the reality that the LAWYER BUBBLE POPPED, and that was a long time ago so wake-up and get that when Mike was put on Death Row, that was the cue that the U.S. Constitution had been and continues to be, as are our Bill of Rights' CORRUPTED-CONTAMINATED & therefore, nothing but a "GD Piece of Paper".  Until we take the first step in the healing of our SOCIETY:


We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Oregon has been ROGUE a long time and the PRIDE isn't but a false wrapping of bent genders and other horrors via the WALL STREET FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM AGENDA/S.  Too bad Balmer doesn't put the Wall Street criminally insane on death row where IT can sit and figure out what IT has murdered since IT came to America.

... to be continued ...


  1. America's FEDERAL SPENDING CLAUSE, gotta demand every JURISPRUDENCE DIVEST THE RETIREMENT PORTFOLIOS of that clear corruption, DUE PROCESS and The Rule Of Law according to the U.S. Constitution and our Bill of Rights' NOT the Wall Street FRS' digital FRAUD in exchange for life! Good GOD how criminally insane is this U$A BIGOVGLOBAL!

  2. FEDERAL SPENDING CLAUSE. Must take away the VIRTUAL DEBT that gets paid interest into perpetuity. PREAMBLE can heal SOCIETY. We MUST, EXERCISE our majority power over the FEUDAL SYSTEM (via the "Jurisprudence" 'NOT'). Pamela Gaston's book, Sui Juris, Time to take back the good law from the criminally insane that have contaminated life.