MISSOURI. COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF DEATH PENALTY
June 4, 2007: the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted a moratorium on executions in the state.
A ruling from a 3-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Taylor v. Crawford deemed that Missouri's lethal injection procedure is not unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.
Gov. Matt Blunt said he was directing the Department of Corrections "to prepare execution procedures in compliance with the ruling."
High on that list will likely be Michael Taylor, who kidnapped 15-year-old Ann Harrison in 1989 and killed her.
His case prompted U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. last year, on June 26 (see) to place a moratorium on Missouri executions, citing concerns the procedure could cause undue suffering for the inmate.
The 8th Circuit reversed Gaitan's ruling.
Judge David R. Hansen wrote there was not "one scintilla of evidence" of suffering among any of Missouri's 6 most recently executed inmates.
Corrections Department spokesman Brian Hauswirth said the execution procedure has been revised. The biggest change is the removal of Jefferson City surgeon Alan Doerhoff, the dyslexic doctor who previously oversaw administration of the lethal chemicals.
The state has been unable to find another doctor willing to participate. Hauswirth would say only that the Corrections Department "will have appropriate medical personnel" for the procedure. (Sources: The Rolla Daily News, Missouri Governor, Associated Press, 04/06/2007)